First evidence that blocking key energy protein kills cancer cells

Mar 31, 2008
AT Synthase
In a finding that could lead to more effective anti-cancer medication, scientists exposed breast cancer cells to a substance that blocks a protein called ATP synthase. The cancer cells were killed while normal ones were preserved. Courtesy of Hsin-Yi Chang and Hsueh-Fen Juan

Researchers in Taiwan report for the first time that blocking a key energy-supplying protein kills cancer cells. The finding, described as the first to test possible medical uses of so-called ATP-synthase inhibitors, may lead to new and more effective anti-cancer medications, according to their report, which is scheduled for the April 4 issue of ACS’ monthly Journal of Proteome Research.

In the new study, Hsueh-Fen Juan and colleagues focused on ATP synthase, a key protein involved in producing the energy-rich molecules of ATP that power all life processes.

For years researchers thought that the protein existed only in mitochondria, structures located inside cells that convert nutrients into energy. Recent studies found high levels of ATP synthase on the surface of cancer cells, but until now the medical implications went unexplored.

The researchers analyzed tissue samples from breast cancer patients and found for the first time that the surface of breast cancer cells contains high levels of ATP synthase. In cell studies, exposing breast cancer cells to a substance that blocks ATP synthase killed the cancer cells but did not harm normal cells, the researchers say. The findings suggest that ATP synthase inhibitors may represent a new approach for fighting breast cancer and other cancer types, they say.

Source: ACS

Explore further: Drug shows promise for subset of stage III colon cancer patients

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Inter-dependent networks stress test

14 minutes ago

Energy production systems are good examples of complex systems. Their infrastructure equipment requires ancillary sub-systems structured like a network—including water for cooling, transport to supply fuel, and ICT systems ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

E_L_Earnhardt
1 / 5 (1) Mar 31, 2008
REDUCE ENERGY - SLOW MITOSIS - "COOLING" WOULD DO THE SAME DARN THING! WAKE UP THE DOCTOR!
superhuman
not rated yet Apr 01, 2008
@ E. L. Earnhardt:
No cooling wont do the same thing, we are warm-blooded animals, we maintain thermal homeostasis. Slowing the mitosis wouldn't help much either, it might slow cancer growth but it wont kill cancer cells. Besides there are no good ways of slowing the mitosis in normal cells (besides calorie restriction) and even if there were cancers cells have the mitosis control short -circuited anyway. You can only block mitosis with certain poisons and thats exactly what some chemotherapeutics do, but those are extremely toxic to both cancer and normal cells (to cancer cells a tiny bit more thats why they are used).

What makes you think that you know more about cancer then legions of scientists and physicians?
Especially since your comments seem to prove otherwise. Stop posting in caps and realize that every physician and scientist in the world would love to come up with a cure (as it means saving millions of people plus fame and money).
If you think that you've found a simple solution (like 'slowing mitosis') missed by everyone else it's an obvious indication that your understanding of the problem is flawed.