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Starving cancer cells to death

  • Researcher: Dr Mattia Zampieri
  • Institution: ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • Award Amount: £200,176 from 1st January 2016 for 2 years
  • Cancer Type: General Cancer Research
Starving cancer cells to death
Dr Zampieri is investigating cancer cell metabolism and how it differs from normal cells.  'Metabolism' refers to the chemical processes that break down nutrients inside a cell to make energy and the building blocks for new cells.  Scientists know that cancer cells metabolise differently to normal cells but the details of how and why - and whether this can be used as a way to target cancer cells with drugs - are still unclear.  Dr Zampieri wants to do something about this.  "A metabolic pathway not relevant or active in normal cells can become absolutely essential to cancer cells" he says "they can rely on very different nutrients and this could be a weakness".  Dr Zampieri is firstly using his Worldwide Cancer Research funding to map how a variety of cancer cell types cope with different nutrition restrictions.  Then on the basis of this information he will develop a computational model that predicts the effect of different drugs.  "We expect to provide the scientific community with an unprecedented resource" explains Zampieri, "this will be the first systematic map of metabolic flux in a wide range of cancer types and a brand new tool for drug discovery".He told us “Passion for research, curiosity and dedication to science have driven my early studies and progress. As a mature scientist, putting my research to good use means doing my best so that my work can become a valuable resource for everybody. The support of Worldwide Cancer Research makes me part of a community of scientists with a common goal: make a step forward in our fight against cancer.
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