Fuel Lines of Tumors Are New Target

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Fuel Lines of Tumors Are New Target
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/health/30cancer.html?hpw=&pagewanted=all

Most healthy cells primarily burn glucose in the presence of oxygen to generate ATP, a chemical that serves as a cells energy source. But when oxygen is low, glucose can be turned into energy by another process, called glycolysis, which produces lactic acid as a byproduct. Muscles undergoing strenuous exercise use glycolysis, with the resultant buildup of lactic acid.

What Dr. Warburg noticed was that tumors tended to use glycolysis even when oxygen was present. This is puzzling because glycolysis is far less efficient at creating ATP.

One theory is that cancer cells need raw materials to build new cells as much as they need ATP. And glycolysis can help provide those building blocks.
Yet another approach is not to starve a tumor of energy but to give it more energy, and that is the idea behind a substance called dichloroacetate, or DCA. Dr. Evangelos Michelakis of the University of Alberta, who came up with the idea, says there is a mechanism by which cells that become defective can commit suicide for the greater good of the body.

But cancer cells usually do not kill themselves. Dr. Michelakis says this could be because they lack sufficient energy.

DCA, a simple chemical that is formed in small quantities when drinking water is chlorinated, has long been used to treat certain rare diseases in which lactic acid builds up in the body. DCA inhibits an enzyme called pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase. The effect of that inhibition is to move metabolism away from lactic acid-producing glycolysis and toward more normal oxidation of glucose in the mitochondria, the energy factories of the cell.
 

Enid

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Just a joy to read of real scientists discovering more and more - over to you across the pond - US and Canada. (We remain in the Dark Ages).