Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New therapeutic approach to fight cancer: Inhibiting cancer cells' energy metabolism

Date:
September 3, 2013
Source:
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Summary:
Resting cancer cells can be selectively destroyed by inhibiting their energy metabolism, according to a new study.

Resting cancer cells can be selectively destroyed by inhibiting their energy metabolism.
Credit: Image courtesy of Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Resting cancer cells can be selectively destroyed by inhibiting their energy metabolism. This is the recent discovery by researchers at Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin-Buch, together with other cooperation partners from Germany.

The findings of their study have been published in the scientific journal Nature.

Chemotherapy does not kill all cancer cells, but instead, some cells enter a state known as senescence (programmed growth arrest). While in this state, the tumor cells are inactive and no longer divide. Nevertheless, senescence comes with hidden dangers. For instance, senescent cells produce protein messenger substances that can cause harmful inflammatory reactions. Moreover, senescent cells may pose a risk of cancer recurrence. Researchers working around Prof. Dr. Clemens Schmitt, Director of the Center for Molecular Cancer Research and Executive Supervising Medical Doctor at the Department of Hematology, Oncology and Tumor Immunology at the Charité, have now discovered a way to target senescent cancer cells for destruction.

"We have demonstrated a major increase in energy metabolism in senescent tumor cells after chemotherapy, and that the cells truly crave for sugar," explains Prof. Schmitt. "Moreover, we could show that these cells not only produce more energy, but are dependent upon their major increase in metabolism," he added. When the researchers inhibited sugar metabolism in the cells, they died off. By contrast, short-term inhibition of energy metabolism has little effect on resting or dividing cells in normal tissues. The researchers regard the cause for the high energy consumption in senescent cells as representing another unique feature: the moment the cells enter the state of senescence, they produce large quantities of protein messenger substances. These substances must then be digested, a highly energy-consuming process, since some of the proteins are toxic. Thus, if either energy production in the senescent cells or their digestive processes is blocked, they cannot survive.

"What is unique about this research study is the new understanding of a potential target structure for treating malignant diseases: as a rule, current and very promising so called "targeted" agents specifically inhibit the activity of an altered molecule that is present in cancer cells," explains Prof. Schmitt. Contrary to this, the researchers with their new therapeutic approach are proposing to use a cancer-specific state, i.e. cellular senescence resulting from chemotherapy, as the therapeutic target of a downstream metabolic therapy to destroy tumor cells, and not just a single molecule. "This represents a highly promising research approach at the interface between preclinical research and clinical trials," states Schmitt. "The idea behind our approach could be very relevant in future strategies for treating cancer patients; in view of this clinical potential, we are currently conducting further investigations," he adds.

In addition, the oncologist emphasizes the interdisciplinary character of the research findings, primarily developed in Berlin, and says, "This important study has been made possible by the excellent research landscape in Berlin and the close collaboration between transnational clinical researchers from the Charité with primary scientists from the MDC -- brought even closer together in the newly founded "Berlin Institute of Health."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jan R. Dörr, Yong Yu, Maja Milanovic, Gregor Beuster, Christin Zasada, J. Henry M. Däbritz, Jan Lisec, Dido Lenze, Anne Gerhardt, Katharina Schleicher, Susanne Kratzat, Bettina Purfürst, Stefan Walenta, Wolfgang Mueller-Klieser, Markus Gräler, Michael Hummel, Ulrich Keller, Andreas K. Buck, Bernd Dörken, Lothar Willmitzer, Maurice Reimann, Stefan Kempa, Soyoung Lee, Clemens A. Schmitt. Synthetic lethal metabolic targeting of cellular senescence in cancer therapy. Nature, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nature12437

Cite This Page:

Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. "New therapeutic approach to fight cancer: Inhibiting cancer cells' energy metabolism." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130903113006.htm>.
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. (2013, September 3). New therapeutic approach to fight cancer: Inhibiting cancer cells' energy metabolism. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130903113006.htm
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. "New therapeutic approach to fight cancer: Inhibiting cancer cells' energy metabolism." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130903113006.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) — Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'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

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