Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers find potential new treatment approach for pancreatic cancer

Date:
December 20, 2013
Source:
University of Manchester
Summary:
Scientists believe they have discovered a new way to make chemotherapy treatment more effective for pancreatic cancer patients. Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive cancer with poor prognosis and limited treatment options and is highly resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Scientists from The University of Manchester -- part of Manchester Cancer Research Centre believe they have discovered a new way to make chemotherapy treatment more effective for pancreatic cancer patients.

Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive cancer with poor prognosis and limited treatment options and is highly resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

But researchers believe they have found an effective strategy for selectively killing pancreatic cancer while sparing healthy cells which could make treatment more effective.

Dr Jason Bruce, from the Physiological Systems and Disease Research Group, who led the research, said: "Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive and deadly cancers. Most patients develop symptoms after the tumour has spread to other organs. To make things worse, pancreatic cancer is highly resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Clearly a radical new approach to treatment is urgently required. We wanted to understand how the switch in energy supply in cancer cells might help them survive."

The research, published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry this month, found pancreatic cancer cells may have their own specialised energy supply that maintains calcium levels and keeps cancer cells alive.

Maintaining a low concentration of calcium within cells is vital to their survival and this is achieved by calcium pumps on the plasma membrane.

This calcium pump, known as PMCA, is fuelled using ATP -- the key energy currency for many cellular processes.

All cells generate energy from nutrients using two major biochemical energy "factories," mitochondria and glycolysis. Mitochondria generate approximately 90% of the cells' energy in normal healthy cells. However, in pancreatic cancer cells there is a shift towards glycolysis as the major energy source. It is thought that the calcium pump may have its own supply of glycolytic ATP, and it is this fuel supply that gives cancer cells a survival advantage over normal cells.

Scientists used cells taken from human tumours and looked at the effect of blocking each of these two energy sources in turn.

Their study, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre and AstraZeneca, shows that blocking mitochondrial metabolism had no effect. However, when they blocked glycolysis, they saw a reduced supply of ATP which inhibited the calcium pump, resulting in a toxic calcium overload and ultimately cell death.

Dr Bruce added: "It looks like glycolysis is the key process in providing ATP fuel for the calcium pump in pancreatic cancer cells. Although an important strategy for cell survival, it may also be their major weakness.

"Designing drugs to cut off this supply to the calcium pumps might be an effective strategy for selectively killing cancer cells while sparing normal cells within the pancreas."

Maggie Blanks, CEO of the national charity, the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund said: "These findings will certainly of great interest to the pancreatic cancer research community and we'd be keen to see how this approach progresses. Finding weaknesses that can be exploited in this highly aggressive cancer is paramount, so we want to congratulate the Manchester team for their discovery."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Andrew D. James; Oihane Erice; Jason I. E. Bruce. Glycolytic ATP Fuels the Plasma Membrane Calcium Pump Critical for Pancreatic Cancer Cell Survival. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, December 2013

Cite This Page:

University of Manchester. "Researchers find potential new treatment approach for pancreatic cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131220143526.htm>.
University of Manchester. (2013, December 20). Researchers find potential new treatment approach for pancreatic cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131220143526.htm
University of Manchester. "Researchers find potential new treatment approach for pancreatic cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131220143526.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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