Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Research aims to starve breast cancer cells

Date:
August 29, 2011
Source:
Georgia Health Sciences University
Summary:
The most common breast cancer uses the most efficient, powerful food delivery system known in human cells and blocking that system kills it, researchers report. This method of starving cancer cells could provide new options for patients, particularly those resistant to standard therapies such as tamoxifen, researchers said.

The most common breast cancer uses the most efficient, powerful food delivery system known in human cells and blocking that system kills it, researchers report.

This method of starving cancer cells could provide new options for patients, particularly those resistant to standard therapies such as tamoxifen, Georgia Health Sciences University researchers said.

Human estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells thriving in a Petri dish or transplanted onto mice die when exposed to a drug that blocks the transporter, called SLC6A14, said Dr. Vadivel Ganapathy, Chairman of GHSU's Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

"It basically starves the cancer cell," said Ganapathy, corresponding author of the study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The transporter can carry 18 of the known 20 amino acids, fuel all cells need in some combination. Amino acids enable cells to make proteins, which they need to function and survive. The cell type determines its amino acid needs and delivery system. Rapidly growing, dividing estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer needs nearly every amino acid so it makes the smart choice of utilizing the transporter that can deliver the biggest load, Ganapathy said.

SLC6A14 is the only transporter known to carry all 10 essential amino acids, essential because the body can't make them so they have to be delivered via the bloodstream from food. The transporter also takes eight of the nonessential amino acids along for the ride, Ganapathy said.

And it is a fast ride. The transporter has three energy sources instead of the usual one or two, he said.

Interestingly, SLC6A14 is expressed at low levels in most of the body. "There are specialized features of this transport system which could be used by every cell to its advantage but they do not seem to do that. It's expressed only at low levels in normal tissues," Ganapathy noted. While that may seem like a loss for healthy cells, it bolsters the cancer-fighting potential for drugs that block SLC6A14 by making it a more specific cancer target. "Since the normal cells do not depend on this transporter, you can use a drug that selectively blocks it to target cancer cells" Ganapathy said.

The compound they used is alpha-methyl-DL-tryptophan, already used in humans for short periods when they are getting a PET scan in certain areas of the brain. When the researchers treated estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells with it or put it in the drinking water of the mice with the cells, rapid growth stopped and the cancer cells died. Further studies showed alpha-methyl-DL-tryptophan seemed to impact only cells expressing the SLC6A14 transport system. Even another type of breast cancer, estrogen receptor-negative, wasn't impacted.

Researchers are now determining the most potent version of the compound.

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. S. Karunakaran, S. Ramachandran, V. Coothankandaswamy, S. Elangovan, E. Babu, S. Periyasamy-Thandavan, A. Gurav, J. P. Gnanaprakasam, N. Singh, P. V. Schoenlein, P. D. Prasad, M. Thangaraju, V. Ganapathy. SLC6A14 (ATB0, ), a highly concentrative and broad-specific amino acid transporter, is a novel and effective drug target for treatment of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2011; DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M111.229518

Cite This Page:

Georgia Health Sciences University. "Research aims to starve breast cancer cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110829114723.htm>.
Georgia Health Sciences University. (2011, August 29). Research aims to starve breast cancer cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110829114723.htm
Georgia Health Sciences University. "Research aims to starve breast cancer cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110829114723.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
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