Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Suffocating Tumours Could Lead to New Cancer Drugs

Published: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Scientists have discovered a new molecule that prevents cancer cells from responding and surviving when starved of oxygen.

Cancer Research UK scientists at the University of Southampton found that this molecule targets the master switch – HIF-1 – that cancer cells use to adapt to low oxygen levels, a common feature in the disease.

The researchers uncovered a way to stop cancer cells using this switch through an approach called ‘synthetic biology’. By testing 3.2 million potential compounds, made by specially engineered bacteria, they were able to find a molecule that stopped HIF-1 from working.

All cells need a blood supply to provide them with the oxygen and nutrients they require to survive. Cancer tumours grow rapidly and as the tumour gets bigger it outstrips the supply of oxygen and nutrients that the surrounding blood vessels can deliver.

But, to cope with this low-oxygen environment, HIF-1 acts as a master switch that turns on hundreds of genes, allowing cancer cells to survive. HIF-1 triggers the formation of new blood vessels around tumours, causing more oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to the starving tumour, which in turn allows it to keep growing.

Dr Ali Tavassoli, a Cancer Research UK scientist whose team discovered and developed the compound at the University of Southampton, said: “We’ve found a way to target the steps that cancer cells take to survive and we hope that our research will one day lead to effective drugs that can stop cancers adapting to a low oxygen environment, stopping their growth. The next step is to further develop this molecule to create an effective treatment.”

Dr Julie Sharp, senior science information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “Finding ways to disrupt the tools that cancer cells use to adapt and grow when starved of oxygen has been a hot topic in cancer research, but finding drugs that do this effectively has proved elusive.

“For the first time our scientists have found a way to block a master switch controlling cells response to low levels of oxygen – an important step towards creating drugs that could halt cancer in its tracks.”

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Winning the Battle against Leukaemia: Positive Early Results in Clinical Trial for DNA Vaccine
Early results of a trial to treat leukaemia with a WT1 DNA vaccine, has shown robust vaccine-specific antibody responses in all vaccinated patients evaluated to date.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Scientific News
Researchers Disguise Drugs As Platelets to Target Cancer
Researchers have for the first time developed a technique that coats anticancer drugs in membranes made from a patient’s own platelets.
A New Single-Molecule Tool to Observe Enzymes at Work
A team of scientists at the University of Washington and the biotechnology company Illumina have created an innovative tool to directly detect the delicate, single-molecule interactions between DNA and enzymatic proteins.
Milestone Single-Biomolecule Imaging Technique May Advance Drug Design
The first nanometer resolved image of individual tobacco mosaic virions shows the potential of low-energy electron holography for imaging biomolecules at a single particle level; a milestone in structural biology and a potential new tool for drug design.
Opening the Door to Safer, More Precise Cancer Therapies
New method regulates when, and how strongly, cancer-killing therapeutic T cells are activated.
Biologists Find Unexpected Role for Amyloid-Forming Protein
Yeast protein could offer clues to how Alzheimer’s plaques form in the brain.
Revolutionary Gene-editing Technique to Stop AIDS Virus in Its Tracks
UNLV personalized medicine researchers seeking patent on potential HIV cure. Their technique uses a plant protein widely used in agriculture industry.
Viruses Join Fight Against Harmful Bacteria
Engineered viruses could combat human disease and improve food safety.
Tracking Changes in DNA Methylation In Real Time At Single-Cell Resolution
Whitehead Institute researchers have developed a methodology to monitor changes in DNA methylation over time in individual cells.
Virus Re-Engineered to Deliver Targeted Therapies
Researchers stripped a virus of its infectious machinery and turned its benign core into a delivery vehicle that can target sick cells while leaving healthy tissue alone.
Exposure to Pesticides In Childhood Linked to Cancer
Young children who are exposed to insecticides inside their homes may be slightly more at risk for developing leukemia or lymphoma during childhood, according to a meta-analysis by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers.

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos