Bullseye Cancer Therapy

Drugs block cancer cell metabolism

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Killing healthy cells and tissue is one of the downsides of traditional cancer therapies. A team of scientists is in the process of "painting a bullseye on cancer cells" to remedy this problem.

Scientists from around the world have created a computerized model of cancer cell metabolism. This model will be used to predict which medications can annihilate the cancer cell's metabolism, thereby efficiently and effectively killing off only the bad guys.

"Speak with your oncologist about which cancer drugs will work for you."

The team, led by Prof. Eytan Ruppin of Tel Aviv University's Blavatnik School of Computer Science and the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, worked on both lab and computer models relating to kidney cancer.

The way cancer cells metabolize nutrients to grow is very different from how normal cells operate. So the team reconstructed the thousands of different reactions that cancer cells have. This  model was then compared to one mimicking the metabolism of a normal cell.

Distinguishing the differences allowed the scientists to pinpoint drug targets that had the potential of treating the distinct reactions seen in cancer metabolism.

The model for renal cancer worked to predict which drug would kill a specific enzyme involved. Those results were then tested against animal and human cell models.

Future work will involve building models for other types of cancer. Researchers believe this approach will lead to the development of more targeted, selective and effective cancer treatments.

Other research institutitions involved in this study include the Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow, UK, and the Technion in Haif.

This study was recently published in the journal Nature.

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Review Date: 
August 30, 2011
Last Updated:
October 21, 2012