Computer predicts anti-cancer molecules

June 17, 2008

A new computer-based method of analyzing cellular activity has correctly predicted the anti-tumour activity of several molecules. Research published today in BioMed Central's open access journal Molecular Cancer describes 'CoMet' – a tool that studies the integrated machinery of the cell and predicts those components that will have an effect on cancer.

Jeffrey Skolnick, in collaboration with John McDonald, led a team from the Georgia Institute of Technology who have developed this new strategy. As Skolnick explains, "This opens up the possibility of novel therapeutics for cancer and develops our understanding of why such metabolites work. CoMet provides a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms of cancer".

The small molecules that are naturally produced in cells are called metabolites. Enzymes, the biological catalysts that produce and consume these metabolites are created according to a cell's genetic blueprints. Importantly, however, the metabolites can also affect the expression of genes. According to the authors "By comparing the gene expression levels of cancer cells relative to normal cells and converting that information into the enzymes that produce metabolites, CoMet predicts metabolites that have lower concentrations in cancer relative to normal cells".

The research proves that by adding such putatively depleted metabolites to cancer
cells, they exhibit anticancer properties. In this case, growth of leukemia cells was slowed by all nine of the metabolites suggested by CoMet. The future for this treatment looks bright, in McDonald's words, "While we have only performed cell proliferation assays, it is reasonable to speculate that some metabolites may also exhibit many other anticancer properties. These could be important steps on the road to a cure".

Source: BioMed Central

Explore further: New study reveals improved way to interpret high-throughput biological data

Related Stories

Mimicking the body on a chip for new drug testing

June 10, 2015

Scientists in an EU project have developed a microfluidic chip that simultaneously analyses the reactions of several human organ tissues when they come into contact with candidates for new drugs. The ground-breaking device ...

Single cells: Same same but different

June 12, 2013

(Phys.org) —If half of a cell population were coloured white and the other half were coloured black, scientists should think all cells are grey. Conventional methods average over thousands of cells, overlooking any cell-to-cell ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.