Starving Cancer Could Lead To New Treatments

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An important supply route utilized by cancer cells to obtain nutrients has been identified and could be the key to implementing treatments that prevent tumor growth, according to a new study conducted by Australian National University.

By blocking the entry point through which cancerous cells obtain the amino acid glutamine, researchers were able to stop the cells from growing almost completely.

"This is likely to work in a wide range of cancers, because it is a very common mechanism in cancer cells," said Professor Stefan Bröer, lead researcher of the study. "Better still, this should lead to chemotherapy with much less serious side-effects, as normal cells do not use glutamine as a building material.”

Bröer also said that important white blood cells, which today’s treatment methods can harm, could be spared to help avoid the hair loss caused by chemotherapy.

Cures for cancer

Along with lymphoma, 916 different types of cancers have been identified and each requires its own unique treatment. These treatments can become less effective as cancers advance and develop resistance to chemotherapy.

Researchers now believe that new approaches to battling cancer can be implemented because restricting the glutamine transport system is an external technique that would make it difficult for cancer cells to combat.

Early results are promising, as Dr. Bröer and the team claimed that cell growth diminished by 96 percent after starving the cancer cells of the nutrients they needed to continue growing.

Source: EurekAlert!

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