Glioblastoma, the most common form of brain cancer is a deadly disease for which at present there is no cure. Now, researchers have published research results that show how repurposing the old drug flavopiridol could be an effective strategy to cut short sugar availability and impair cancer growth.
One of the most remarkable feature of glioblastoma cells is their ability to reprogram their metabolism switching towards a glycolytic energetic metabolism, which relies on high glucose uptake and consumption to sustain the cancer cell's malignant activities. However, because flavopiridol, a synthetic flavonoid already used in the past against cancer, inactivates the enzyme glycogen phosphorylase, this metabolic switching could be used as a therapeutic target. The authors set out to test whether flavopiridol could be used to restrain glioblastoma cell growth by decreasing the availability of glucose as substrate for the glycolytic process, cutting off the tumor's energy supply.
The results, published on the Journal of Cellular Physiology, comes from the Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO), at the Center for Biotechnology, Temple University and the University of L'Aquila and Siena in Italy.
The ability of Flavopiridol to reduce glycolisys in glioblastoma cells and inhibit their proliferation is a significant step toward deriving new treatments for what is currently an incurable form of cancer. According to Annamaria Cimini of the University of L'Aquila, lead author of the study, "This points toward a possible new use of this compound or flavopiridol-derived formulations in combination with anti-proliferative agents in glioblastoma patients."
"The design of new flavopiridol-based formulations, aimed at starving cancer cells cutting short the sugar they're addicted to, may open up new therapeutic avenues for patients with glioblastoma," says Antonio Giordano, founder and director of the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine and Center for Biotechnology at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA USA in collaboration with the Department of Medicine, Surgery & Neuroscience at the University of Siena, and University of L' Aquila Italy.
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