Scientists from the University of Salford, England, have come up with a mechanism by which the spread of cancer cells can be stopped, as the spread of the tumor causes the death of about 90 percent of cancer patients whose treatment fails to save them.
According to the results of the study recently published in the prestigious journal Nature, metastatic cancer cells are resistant to cancer chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which reinforces the urgent medical need to stop the spread of cancer cells.
The researchers determined that metastatic cancer cells require a huge amount of energy, and are the “fittest” cancer cells, explaining why they are resistant to drugs.
By using a special sensor to detect adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy-carrying molecule found in the cells of all living organisms, the scientists were able to more effectively isolate cancer cells.
The scientists found that cells high in ATP are the most aggressive, and 5 times more proliferating.
Study co-author Professor Michael P. Lissant says: “This simple idea has been on our hands all along, but the association of ATP with aggressiveness of cancer cells and treatment failure is something new to us.”
“Ultimately, it can prevent the spread of cancer cells, by directly cutting off the cancer’s energy supply,” explains Federica Sutgia, Head of Cancer and Aging Biology.
Targeting ATP is one of the most effective ways to cut off cells’ energy supply. For this purpose, the researchers used a drug approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The drug “Sertiuro” targeted the supply of energy to cancer cells and prevented the spread of cancer cells by about 85 percent, and caused an “interruption of energy” in cancer cells only, while it had no effects on normal cells, and therefore its side effects were few.
Although Sirteuro was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and initially produced to block energy production in bacteria, the results of this study now pave the way for new cancer clinical trials.