Researchers have identified a potential new drug target for treating lung cancer.
In a new study by University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center researchers have suggested that targeting a key enzyme and its associated metabolic programming may lead to novel drug development to treat the disease.
The study collected metabolic data directly from more than 120 human lung cancer patients. UK's Center for Environmental and Systems Biochemistry (CESB) researchers measured the in situ activity of the two enzymes in patients with early stage lung cancer. When they infused the patients with a glucose tagged with stable heavy atoms immediately prior to surgical removal of tumor tissue, they found that PC was selectively activated - in other words, PC expression may play an important role in the development of lung cancer.
Teresa Fan, one of the lead researchers of the study, said that they now knew much more about metabolic reprogramming of cancerous tissues in human patients, particularly that the activation of pyruvate carboxylase is important to lung cancer cell growth and survival. Ultimately, figuring out how to target PC may help researchers develop new, more effective therapeutic strategies to improve upon current lung cancer treatments, which are limited and harmful.
The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.