Researchers from the University of Texas have identified the genetic pathway to starve selective kidney cancer cells.
A recent study has shown that rare and common cases of kidney cancer may be susceptible to a new drug that stops cancer cells from generating the energy needed to survive. The study, which is available online from 5th May in the Journal Oncogene, found that by inactivating the gene Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) in laboratory mice, cells were blocked from using oxygen to provide energy. This forced the cells to generate energy from a different method, using glycolysis, which is the conversion of glucose to lactic acid. The gene VHL is inactive in about 90% of the most common types of kidney cancer in humans. The study therefore suggests that glycolytic inhibitors may be useful in fighting kidney cancer. The drug could kill the cancer cells and spare most normal cells that would still have mitochondrial respiration to gain energy.