Tweet Facebook Mail A new drug could starve cancer cells of the nutrients they thrive on, paving the way for combatting aggressive forms of the disease.A team of Australian researchers has found a way to block harmful cells from the amino acid, glutamine, which causes them to flourish, after spending years studying cancer cells compared to normal cells.The development could essentially “starve the cancer cells” of exactly what makes them prosper, study leader Professor Jeff Holst, from Sydney’s Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine, said.“We’ve found that cancer cells must be taking up more nutrients than the cells around them, and using those nutrients differently. We’ve found there are pumps on the surface of the cancer cells that bring those nutrients in and increase them, enabling the cancer cells to eat more and basically outgrow the cells around them,” he told the TODAY Show this morning.“We’ve developed a new drug that can block those pumps and in essence, starve the cancer cells.”The study showed that cancerous cells thrive on an amino acid called glutamine, but normal cells rely more on sugar. Normal cells also don’t have the same “pumps” found on cancerous cells.“One of the forms of cancer we’ve been studying… is triple-negative breast cancer. We’ve been trying to understand this hard-to-treat cancer that really relies on chemotherapy. More than anything, we need drugs in these hard-to-treat cancers, and this looks like it works more specifically for aggressive cancers,” Prof. Holst said.RelatedRush to publish COVID-19 research saw errors in top medical journals triple, study findsNew health alert in South Australia after positive COVID-19 case breached quarantineTwo new coronavirus cases reported in South AustraliaOther aggressive forms of cancer such as melanoma have also been found to rely on glutamine.The research team has also been funded by MetabloQ and the CSIRO, and are on the quest to begin clinical trials which could start in three years.
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