Battling Breast Cancer by Curbing its Sugar Craving

Investigators have found a means of potentially battling chemotherapy-resistant breast cancer. This is according to a study published in the journal Chemical Science. This new approach, developed by University of Southampton researches, involves curbing breast cancer cells' sugar craving.

Prior research has demonstrated that cancer cells thrive on sugar from the blood. The cells process sugar as an energy source that encourages the binding of C-terminal binding proteins (CtBPs). This process leads to the formation of cell pairs known as “dimers” which allow the cancer cells to grow and multiply.

Now researchers have engineered several chemicals known as cyclic peptide inhibitors, which can prevent these binding proteins from forming. When these chemicals were tested on breast cancer cells, the most effective was found to be CP61. Researchers claim they are now in the process of developing CP61 to be used in the treatment of breast cancer.

Study author, Dr. Jeremy Blaydes of the university’s faculty of medicine claims that although there have been significant advances in breast cancer treatment, chemotherapy-resistance eventually occurs in close to 20% of breast cancer cases. He says that in order to overcome this resistance, innovative treatments that employ new approaches to prevent cancer from proliferating are in desperate demand. The new drugs being developed could be effective against breast cancers that have become resistant to standard chemotherapies.

Dr. Blaydes adds that this discovery of a potential breast cancer treatment is especially exciting because CtBPs are active only in cancer cells. Therefore, inhibiting the “sweet-tooth” craving of the cancer cells should lead to less damage to healthy cells and less of the adverse side effects seen in standard treatments.

He concludes by stating that the work is still in an early stage in the laboratory, but it is an exciting development that has the potential to deliver a new type of cancer drugs, which could be available within the next decade.


Written by Stuart Diamond




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