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Finding out what fuels cancer growth

  • Researcher: Professor Rami Aqeilan
  • Institution: Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
  • Award Amount: £123,557 for 3 years from June 2014
  • Cancer Type: General Cancer Research
Finding out what fuels cancer growth
Professor Aqeilan is studying cancer metabolism, that is, how cancer cells take in and use energy to grow. With his new grant he is investigating how a molecule called WWOX could be involved in this process.WWOX is thought to be a tumour suppressor, normally working to block cancer. Decreased WWOX levels are found in many different tumours, and crucially Professor Aqeilan has shown that mice missing WWOX are more prone to cancer. But scientists still don’t really know how WWOX works. Early evidence gathered using mouse studies and breast cancer biopsies suggest that WWOX might have a key role in regulating uptake of glucose (a form of sugar). Professor Aqeilan thinks that when WWOX is missing, the cancer cells could take up more glucose which fuels their growth and division. However, the exact way WWOX modulates cancer metabolism is still largely unknown, and this is what Professor Aqeilan is now working on. Cancer metabolism is a major field of cancer research and holds great promise for producing new and improved therapies. If cancer cells can be prevented from taking up and using energy, they will be unable to grow or survive. This is why it is essential we find out as much as we can about the molecules and processes behind this mechanism.
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