26 November 2014
Researchers at Manchester University's Institute of Cancer Sciences and the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute have found a new way to inhibit the development of cancer.
Cancer stem cells are particularly difficult to eradicate and are the reason why many treatments do not work, as they drive tumour recurrence after therapy.
The team investigated the role of mitochondria, which produce and release energy within cells, and found that they are key for the development and survival of cancer stem cells. These 'tumour initiating cells' can also encourage resistance to treatment.
The theory, which was carried out on breast cancer stem cells grown in a lab, was then checked against human breast cancer cells from patients. Both studies checked the protein level and 62 mitochondrial-related proteins showed significantly increased levels.
Specifically, fuels such as ketone and L-lactate appeared to be critical, which have been linked to accelerated growth of tumours.
Professor Michael P. Lisanti, director of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Unit and lead author, said: "Essentially mitochondria are the "engines" of cancer stem cells and ketone and L-lactate are the high octane fuels, which promote cancer growth."
Posted by Philip Briggs
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