Controlling Metabolism to Spur Future Cancer Treatments

A new study has shown that engineered tumors can stimulate the addition of nutrients into the tumor feeding duct as they do not grow on their own. This makes the formation of pants for intestinal cancer which is a step towards new therapies.

Harmful accumulation of nutrients is one of the main challenges to treat cancer patients according to head of this research group Issei Yamanaka M. D. is his group director. To overcome this problem Yamanakas group has been performing genetic screening which has revealed mutations in intestinal cancer cells.

In this study the team wanted to study a novel approach for boosting intestinal cancer regrowth. The medical community commonly examines abnormalities on growths of small animals and they have also observed growth inhibition of small animal intestine cancer in adult patients.

Published in Cell Reports the team found out that intestinal cancer cells may need nutrient supply in order to survive and spread. They found another puzzle. In cancer cell lines engineered with stomach cancer the researchers observed that these cancers could improve their growth by taking up food stored outside the duct. This observation calls for understanding how nutrient uptake may influence the survival of intestinal cancer cells.

Enhancing nutrient uptake by intestinal cancer cells.

One key finding is that mice engineered with high-grade intestinal cancer regressed into a completely normal state without access to nutrients. They reported that feeding these mice with nutrients improved their growth and survival.

In comparing nutrient uptake among different groups of mice the researchers found that the gut-control group lost more weight than the others and gained more energy compared to being without nutrients.

Yamanaka has hypothesized that nutrients are absorbed by the gut during the passage of the colon and enter the feeding duct. Addressing adipose tissue in this study he has spent entire years studying nutrient transduction in adipose cells of other animals including mice since it has become an important component of many normal functions. He is also director of the Laboratory for Energy Balance of Stem Cells Metabolites at the Centre of Metabolic and Degenerative Disease Research. This study along with previous studies published in Cell Reports was published in the prestigious Cell Metabolism.