Oxygen-Free Energy Designed to Fuel Brain Development Spurs on Growth of Cancer
News Jan 23, 2013
Using knock-out mice the study shows that interfering with Hexokinase-2 (Hk2), an enzyme integral to glucose metabolism, reduces the aggressiveness of medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor in children, and allows long term survival of mice.
Most cells only convert glucose to lactate in the absence of oxygen, for example, during a short burst of intensive exercise (anaerobic glycolysis). However rapidly dividing cells, including many cancer cells, convert glucose to lactate even in the presence of oxygen (aerobic glycolysis).
Researchers from the University of North Carolina have found that Hk2 switches on aerobic glycolysis in progenitor cells of the brain and in medulloblastoma. In the absence of Hk2, brain development was disordered. Additionally they found that deleting the Hk2 gene in mice genetically prone to develop medulloblastoma reduced the aggressiveness of the tumors, allowing long-term survival of the mice.
Dr. Timothy Gershon, who led this study, explained, "As long ago as 1924 Otto Warburg hypothesized that cancers use glycolysis to provide energy for growth even in the presence of oxygen. We found that glycolysis in the presence of oxygen is a developmental process that is co-opted in cancer to support malignant growth. We can now think about targeting this process in patients."
Open access publisher BioMed Central is proud to announce the launch of the Cancer & Metabolism . Professor Chi van Dang, co-Editor-in-Chief, commented that "It has become self-evident that metabolism and bioenergetics are regulated by cancer genes. Cancer & Metabolism is launched uniquely to fulfil the needs of a burgeoning field." Professor Michael Pollak, co-Editor-in-Chief, added that "The scope of Cancer & Metabolism will allow for an interdisciplinary readership including cancer biologists, endocrinologists, oncologists, clinical trialists and population scientists."
A Mystery Solved: "Protein Cluedo" Reveals Enzyme SecretsNews
Scientists have used biosensors to solve questions about protein production which might seem familiar to mystery board game enthusiasts.READ MORE
Insulin Goes Viral: Diabetes and Cancer-causing Mechanisms ExploredNews
Every cell in your body responds to the hormone insulin, and if that process starts to fail, you get diabetes. In an unexpected finding, scientists have identified four viruses that can produce insulin-like hormones that are active on human cells. The discovery brings new possibilities for revealing biological mechanisms that may cause diabetes or cancer.READ MORE