Targeting fat to treat cancer

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Targeting fat to treat cancer

  • Author Name
    Andre Gress
  • Author Twitter Handle
    @Quantumrun

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For years, cancer was the star of all terminal diseases, one that attracted billions for research, study, and treatment. Similarly, the millions impacted by cancer each year hold out a hope that a cure can one day be found, rather than a treatment that simply prolongs someone's life.

Thankfully, a new theory is being put into action to decrease the growth of cancer tumors by stopping fat synthesis in cells. The lead manager of the Salk institute's cancer research team, Professor Reuben Shaw, explained, "Cancer cells rewire their metabolism to support their rapid division." Essentially it means that cancer cells can outlive regular cells. Furthermore, Shaw expands on this theory, "Because cancer cells are more reliant on lipid synthesis activity than normal cells, we thought there might be subsets of cancers sensitive to a drug that could interrupt this vital metabolic process."

In layman terms, cancer cells won’t grow if something is preventing them from feeding off of the body’s natural cell production.

Normal vs cancerous cells

New Scientist magazine's, Andy Coghlan, explains that in the 1930’s, an observation was made about cancer cells in which they create energy through glycolysis. In contrast, normal cells do the same except it’s only when they are short of oxygen.

Evangelos Mechilakis, of the University of Alberta, was quoted saying, "We are still a long way from a treatment, but this opens the window on drugs that target cancer metabolism." This statement was made after the first human trial. All of which had a severe form of brain cancer.

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