'Starving' cancer cells may prevent growth of new tumours

A new study has found "starving" cancer cells could be the key to prevent the growth of tumours.

Updated: May 06, 2016, 16:34 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

Canberra: A new study has found "starving" cancer cells could be the key to prevent the growth of tumours.

'Starving' cancer cells has paved the way for the development of new cancer-beating drugs.

A vital supple route that cancer cells use to obtain nutrients and grow was found and blocked, as said by the scientists at the Australian National University (ANU) on Friday.

The "gateways" through which cancer cells "feed" were identified and blocked by Professor Stefan Broer and his team. Then they found that the cells almost completely stopped growing, in a discovery which could revolutionise chemotherapy and save lives.

"This should lead to chemotherapy with much less serious side-effects, as normal cells do not use glutamine as a building material," Xinhua news agency quoted Broer as saying.

"Crucial white blood cells, which current treatments damage, could be spared, and it could cut out the hair loss that chemotherapy causes."

He said that most cancer research undertaken currently is focused on one particular strain of cancer cell, whereas his team's discovery could be used to stop the growth of hundreds of different cancer types.

Broer's team initially identified one "gateway" which it blocked by disabling the cells' "glutamine transport mechanism", but the cancer found another way to feed on nutrients. The team then found and blocked a second gateway and the cancer cells stopped growing.

(With IANS inputs)