Washington: Knocking out a single enzyme dramatically cripples the ability of aggressive cancer cells to spread and grow tumours, scientists have found.Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley shed new light on the importance of lipids, a group of molecules that includes fatty acids and cholesterol, in the development of cancer.Scientists have long known that cancer cells metabolise lipids differently than normal cells.Levels of ether lipids - a class of lipids that are harder to break down - are particularly elevated in highly malignant tumours, although the nature of that correlation has been unclear for decades."Cancer cells make and use a lot of fat and lipids, and that makes sense because cancer cells divide and proliferate at an accelerated rate, and to do that, they need lipids, which make up the membranes of the cell," said study principal investigator Daniel Nomura, assistant professor in UC Berkeley`s Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology."Lipids have a variety of uses for cellular structure, but what we`re showing with our study is that lipids can also send signals that fuel cancer growth," Nomura said.
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