According to the study, colon cancer cells practically
live on hydrogen sulfide gas. This gas which is produced by rotten eggs is
needed in large amounts by the cells to survive and grow.
"They love it and they need
it," UTMB professor Csaba Szabo, explained. "Colon cancer cells
thrive on this stuff -- our data show that they use it to make energy, to
divide, to grow and to invade the host."
The researchers linked the colon
cancer hydrogen-sulfide production to CBS - a protein that is produced by colon
cancer cells. Careful analysis revealed that the growth of colon cancer cells
was hampered when the CBS was chemically blocked.
"Our work identifies CBS as
a new anti-cancer target," UTMB professor and paper author Mark Hellmich,
added. "By blocking CBS, we can fight colon cancer
The researchers further revealed that by blocking CBS,
they managed to demonstrate anti-colon cancer effects in mice. They also found
that colon cancer cells, devoid of hydrogen sulfide gas, grew slowly, and had a
considerably decrease in angiogenesis - a process by which a cancerous tumor
produces more blood vessels to extract more nutrients and oxygen from the host.
This new discovery may help scientists discover newer
and better treatments for colon cancer. "This is a chance to do research
that really matters," Hellmich said. "We're very excited to have that