Treating cancer: targeting fat to stop the growth of cancerous cells

For years, cancer has been the star of all terminal diseases to be researched, studied and treated through innovation. Hopefully one day there will be a cure rather than a treatment that may only prolong someone’s life. It is with sincere hope that through innovation those who have or will fall ill shall be with us much longer. 

The Placebo treated cells, which are on the left, contain more lipid production, which is seen in the picture as the red portion, than the ND 646 treated cells, shown on the right.

Fat synthesis obstruction

Thankfully a new theory is being put into action to decrease the growth of cancer tumors by stopping fat synthesis in cells.  Salk Institute’s team is led by Professor Reuben Shaw who goes on to explain that: “Cancer cells rewire their metabolism to support their rapid division." Essentially it means that cancer cells can out live regular cells; furthermore, Shaw expands on this theory by stating: "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 cell

Andy Coghlan demonstrated the difference between a normal and cancerous cell with this diagram. He goes on to explain 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. In these trials, all of the people had  severe forms of brain cancer.


This could have an effective impact on the future of pharmaceutical science; moreover, it means the pharmaceutical industry will have a new option to give patients a longer life. They’ve always been about prolonging life for as long as science could attempt to do so. Grateful as I am for their efforts, there has to be more innovators like Shaw and his team. Unlike other innovations that stifle cancerous cells’ growth, Shaw wants to stop rather than slow down the growth of the cancerous cells. Please click here for more details on their new treatment.

In conclusion, Salk institute have created a promising treatment for cancer. Cheers to the future of medicine.

Forecasted start year: 
2017 to 2027


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