Body & Fitness

Scientists find way to starve cancer cells

This revolutionary new drug means could mean big things for cancer sufferers.

Sydney scientists are paving the way for a revolutionary new cancer treatment designed to starve cancer cells of the fuel they’re “addicted” to.

In a study led by Centenary Institute Associate Professor Jeff Holst, researchers found cancer cells to thrive on an amino acid called glutamine – a compound normal cells do not.

In a world-first breakthrough, the team were able to find a way to starve and kill only the aggressive, malignant cells responsible for causing some of the deadliest cancers including melanoma, prostate and breast.

“We have known for 100 years that cancer cells take up nutrients and use them differently to normal cells but we haven’t been able to target that,” Professor Holst says.

“Cancer cells have found ways to use glutamine to fuel their growth and they become addicted to it, they are so dependent on it, that if you take it away from the cells they die.”

Explaining how this new drug will work, Holst adds: “Our drug blocks a pump on the surface of the cell that brings in the nutrient, so that we can starve the cancer … it’s like putting tape over its mouth.”

“At the moment we have no drugs that work this way so it’s a new concept.”

Holst says his new treatment is expected to be particularly beneficial to patients with aggressive and hard-to-treat cancers like triple-negative breast cancer.

The ground-breaking new drug may be available in as little as three years.

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