Promising new cancer treatment approach targets fat synthesis

20 September 2016

Scientists have developed a new approach to treating cancer that works by halting the process of fat synthesis in tumour cells.

The Salk Institute research has identified a means of stopping cancer cells from creating their own fat molecules to build plasma membranes and other critical structures, thereby inhibiting the spread of the disease.

They partnered with Nimbus Therapeutics to develop a molecule with the ability to shut off an enzyme called acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC), which plays a key role in lipid synthesis.

Experiments with animal subjects and transplanted human lung cancer cells showed that this approach led to a reduction in tumour mass of roughly two-thirds compared to untreated animals. Moreover, when the treatment was paired with an established therapy called carboplatin, 87 per cent of tumours were suppressed.

The Salk Institute's Professor Reuben Shaw said: "The implications are that we have a very promising drug for clinical trials for subtypes of lung cancer, as well as liver and other types of cancer. This represents a new weapon in the arsenal to fight cancer."

Posted by Philip Briggs

 


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