Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cancer scientists discover new way breast cancer cells adapt to environmental stress

Date:
May 15, 2011
Source:
University Health Network
Summary:
Scientists have discovered a new aspect of "metabolic transformation", the process whereby tumor cells adapt and survive under conditions that would kill normal cells.

An international research team led by Dr. Tak Mak, Director, The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), has discovered a new aspect of "metabolic transformation," the process whereby tumour cells adapt and survive under conditions that would kill normal cells.

The findings, published May 15 in Genes and Development, show how breast cancer cells can thrive when deprived of their usual diet of glucose (sugar) and oxygen by turning to fatty acids for energy generation.

"Our results demonstrate that a protein not previously associated with breast cancer is involved in helping these cells to adapt to starvation conditions and to continue their uncontrolled growth," says Dr. Mak, principal investigator and Weekend to End Breast Cancer Chair in Breast Cancer Research at PMH. Dr. Mak is also a Professor at the University of Toronto in the Departments of Medical Biophysics and Immunology.

In the lab, researchers used an anticancer drug called rapamycin to block a molecular signalling pathway within breast cancer cells that stimulates sugar metabolism. However, instead of dying of starvation, the cells continued to multiply. The team also observed an increase in these cells of carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1C (CPT1C), a protein usually found only in the brains of healthy individuals. Moreover, cells engineered to produce high levels of CPT1C were also able to adapt their metabolism as a survival technique.

"In other words," says Dr. Mak, "The cancer cells acted like cheaters on a diet and found a new food source in fatty acids.

"The fact that CPT1C becomes expressed under conditions of metabolic stress highlights the resilience of cancer cells. They are able to adapt to environmental challenges and find alternative sources of food in order to flourish where healthy cells would not survive."

"Our discovery that deprivation of either sugar or oxygen spurs CPT1C expression in tumour cells marks this protein as a potential target for new drug development," says Dr. Mak.

"We also demonstrated that cells that were prevented from using CPT1C to cope with a disruption in sugar metabolism became more sensitive to environmental stress. These findings represent an important stepping stone to developing targeted therapies that can block cancer cells from adapting to environmental challenges and surviving efforts to kill them."

This most recent discovery builds on Dr. Mak's impressive body of work, which has led to important breakthroughs in immunology and our understanding of cancer at the molecular level. Dr. Mak is known for his 1984 landmark scientific paper on the cloning of the genes for the T cell receptor, a key component of the human immune system.

The research published May 15 was financially supported by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, The Canadian Cancer Society, the Forschungskredit of the University of Zurich and Oncosuisse.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Health Network. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. K. Zaugg, Y. Yao, P. T. Reilly, K. Kannan, R. Kiarash, J. Mason, P. Huang, S. K. Sawyer, B. Fuerth, B. Faubert, T. Kalliomaki, A. Elia, X. Luo, V. Nadeem, D. Bungard, S. Yalavarthi, J. D. Growney, A. Wakeham, Y. Moolani, J. Silvester, A. Y. Ten, W. Bakker, K. Tsuchihara, S. L. Berger, R. P. Hill, R. G. Jones, M. Tsao, M. O. Robinson, C. B. Thompson, G. Pan, T. W. Mak. Carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1C promotes cell survival and tumor growth under conditions of metabolic stress. Genes & Development, 2011; 25 (10): 1041 DOI: 10.1101/gad.1987211

Cite This Page:

University Health Network. "Cancer scientists discover new way breast cancer cells adapt to environmental stress." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110515122603.htm>.
University Health Network. (2011, May 15). Cancer scientists discover new way breast cancer cells adapt to environmental stress. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110515122603.htm
University Health Network. "Cancer scientists discover new way breast cancer cells adapt to environmental stress." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110515122603.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) A new study finds children are prescribed antibiotics twice as often as is necessary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins