Published on December 21, 2013 at 3:29 AM
Their study, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT)/National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Manchester Biomedical Research Centre and AstraZeneca, shows that blocking mitochondrial metabolism had no effect. However, when they blocked glycolysis, they saw a reduced supply of ATP which inhibited the calcium pump, resulting in a toxic calcium overload and ultimately cell death.
Dr Bruce added: "It looks like glycolysis is the key process in providing ATP fuel for the calcium pump in pancreatic cancer cells. Although an important strategy for cell survival, it may also be their major weakness.
"Designing drugs to cut off this supply to the calcium pumps might be an effective strategy for selectively killing cancer cells while sparing normal cells within the pancreas."
Maggie Blanks, CEO of the national charity, the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund said: "These findings will certainly of great interest to the pancreatic cancer research community and we'd be keen to see how this approach progresses. Finding weaknesses that can be exploited in this highly aggressive cancer is paramount, so we want to congratulate the Manchester team for their discovery."
Source: University of Manchester