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NCI Cancer Center News

Emory University scientists study cancer cells' sugar cravings:

  • Posted: December 23, 2011

Cancer cells’ sugar cravings arise partly because they turn off their mitochondria, power sources that burn glucose efficiently, in favor of a more inefficient mode of using glucose. They benefit because the byproducts can be used as building blocks for fast-growing cells. Scientists at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University have shown that many types of cancer cells flip a switch that diverts glucose away from mitochondria. Their findings suggest that tyrosine kinases, enzymes that drive the growth of several types of cancer, play a greater role in mitochondria than previously recognized. The results also highlight the enzyme PDHK (pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase) as an important point of control for cancer cell metabolism.

Click here to read the full release from Emory

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Among the research institutions NCI funds across the United States, it currently designates 66 as Cancer Centers. Largely based in research universities, these facilities are home to many of the NCI-supported scientists who conduct a wide range of intense, laboratory research into cancer’s origins and development. The Cancer Centers Program also focuses on trans-disciplinary research, including population science and clinical research. The centers’ research results are often at the forefront of studies in the cancer field.