Big step towards development of targeted cancer treatments

Although cancer is a genetic disease, the genetic component is only part of the mystery – and researchers should also consider environmental and metabolic factors, according to a research review by an expert on cancer research. leading experts at the University of Alberta.

David Wishard, professor of Biological Sciences and Computer Science, says that all the theories about what causes cancer that have emerged over the centuries can be grouped into three main groups.

Metabolites, which refer to all the small molecule metabolites found in cells, are an unanticipated player in cancer research.

The metabolic view is still underresearched, but an increasing number of scientists are interested, who are beginning to understand the role of metabolism in cancer.

Genomes, chromosomes, and metabolic organs work together in a feedback cycle as cancer grows and spreads.

Cancer-specific metabolic organs

Wishart has reported that hereditary cancers account for only 5% to 10% of all cancers and that the remaining cancers are initiated by factors such as chromosomes, thus causing gene mutations.

“That’s an important thing to consider, because it says cancer isn’t inevitable.” Because genetically engineered cancer cells are captured by cancer-specific metabolism, the metabolism is important for this process.

“Cancer is genetic, but the mutation itself is often not enough,” says Wishart. As cancer grows and spreads in the body, it creates its own environment and introduces certain metabolites. “It becomes a self-powered disease. And that’s where cancer as a metabolic disease becomes really important.”

The multi-scientific perspective, in which the genome, exposome, and metabolic body are all considered simultaneously when thinking about cancer, is showing great promise in terms of finding treatments and overcoming limitations. when considering only one of these factors.

For example, as Wishart explains, researchers focused solely on the genetics perspective are looking to address specific mutations. The thing is, there are about 1,000 genes that can become cancerous when mutated, and it usually takes at least two different mutations in these cells for cancer to develop. That means there are millions of potential mutation pairs, and “narrowing down the possibilities when searching for new treatments will be hopeless”.

Wishart explained that when looking at cancer from a metabolic point of view, there are only four major types of metabolism. Instead of trying to figure out a treatment plan for a specific combination of mutations among millions of people, identifying a patient’s cancer metabolic type can immediately guide doctors to decide on a treatment plan. the best treatment for their specific cancer.

“It really doesn’t make a difference where – that’s what you have to get rid of. How it grows or develops is what matters” in a discussion about cancer, Wishart said. “It became a question, ‘What is the fuel that powers this engine?'”

He also cautioned that healthcare providers still need to combine cancer treatments, noting that a deeper understanding of the metabolite and its role in the cancer feedback loop also very important to prevent cancer.

“If we understand the causes of cancer, then we can begin to highlight known causes, lifestyle problems that lead to or increase our risk,” he said.

“From a prevention perspective, changing our metabolism through lifestyle modifications would make a huge difference in cancer incidence.”

Understanding this discovery represents a major step forward in the development of targeted cancer treatments that target the metabolism of cancer cells, without affecting the metabolism of the cells. strong.

This study was funded by Genome Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Innovation Fund of Canada.

Source: Medindia

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