Killing cancer by fixing cell metabolism

Published: March, 2013

Researchers at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital are looking at a novel way to stop cancer growth: regulating cell metabolism. When a cell turns cancerous and starts growing uncontrollably, its biochemistry changes. It starts to get energy from glucose (a kind of sugar made from the starches and sugars in your diet) using a biochemical pathway called glycolysis. The new study, published in the Dec. 7, 2012, issue of Cell, shows glycolysis is more likely to happen when a particular enzyme called SIRT6 is knocked out. "Our findings indicate that, in tumors driven by low SIRT6 levels, drugs that may inhibit glycolysis could have therapeutic benefits," says Dr. Raul Mostoslavsky, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and senior author of the study. "It's likely that drugs targeting cancer metabolism may be available to patients in the near future." This study suggests an entirely new target for the treatment of many cancers.

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