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Ankita Katdare
Ankita Katdare • Sep 12, 2015

Pancreatic Cancer Can Be Killed By Cutting Off Its Energy Supply

One of the many deadliest forms of cancer, the Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult to cure one. One of the major reasons for this is the disease's tendency to show symptoms at a very later advanced stage. With increasing obesity around the globe, the risk factors for this cancer are often multiplied due to diabetes. It has become a priority for scientists to find new treatment strategies as existing alternatives have been a failure in improving the cancer patient's survival rates.


A team of researchers from Queen Mary University of London’s Barts Cancer Institute and the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre have come up with an idea that talks of suffocating the pancreatic cancer using an anti-diabetes drug. It was found that cancer cells are a lot similar when it comes to metabolism i.e. glycolysis.

Oxidative phosphorylation or OXPHOS is an efficient form of metabolism which can be cured with metformin - an anti-diabetic drug. However, the PancSCs that use OXPHOS can escape this process and that leads to the cancer recurrence.

Therefore, the Queen Mary University scientists found a method to force all PancSCs to keep using OXPHOS. Using this method, a treatment can be developed to stop the stem cells from using oxygen and thus prevent cancer from returning after conventional treatment.

In a way, this research work points at killing the cancer by cutting off its energy supply. While Pancreatic stem cells are only a small part of tumour, they are powerful enough to build new tumours even when all other cells are killed. With the new treatment method, the risk of recurrence among pancreatic cancer patients can be eliminated.

Source: Queen Mary University

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