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Indian-origin scientist identifies cancer’s food sensors

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London: An Indian-origin researcher from Oxford University has identified a protein used by cancer tumours to help them detect food supplies.

Initial results show that targeting the protein could restrict cancerous cells’ ability to grow.

“We found that aggressive cancer cells manufacture more protein named PAT4 which enables them to make better use of available nutrients than the cells around them – including healthy tissue,” said Dr Deborah Goberdhan from Oxford University’s department of physiology, anatomy and genetics.

Cancer cells often have restricted access to the body’s nutrient-rich blood supply.

The ability to sense and acquire nutrients is critical for a cancer to grow.

Dr Goberdhan and cancer researcher Adrian Harris collaborated to develop an antibody that could be used to highlight PAT4 in human tissue samples.

This was then used to study anonymous tumour samples taken from patients with colorectal cancer, a common form of the disease.

The results were compared to the known outcomes for the patients.

Those who had higher levels of PAT4 in their tumours did less well than those with lower levels – being more likely to relapse and die.

The researchers then looked at what happened when PAT4 levels were reduced. They showed that by reducing PAT4 levels, cancerous tumours grew more slowly.

“’These findings support each other. Not only do higher levels of PAT4 mean a worse outcome, but lowering levels improves the situation,” Dr Goberdhan pointed out.

“This means that we have identified a mechanism which cancer cells prefer to use and which we might be able to target as part of a combination treatment,” he concluded.

The research was published in the science journal Oncogene.

(IANS)

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Gut Microbiota Can Help Identify Liver Cancer: Researchers

Gut microbiota can help the body digest certain foods that the stomach and small intestine have not been able to digest.

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Liver Cancer
How gut microbiota can aid in early diagnosis of liver cancer.

Chinese researchers have identified gut microbiota as a new biomarker of liver cancer, that can help in early diagnosis as well as treatment of the condition.

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of liver cancer and the third leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide.

Due to the absence of specific symptoms in early stages and the lack of diagnostic markers, most patients with HCC are often diagnosed in an advanced stage.

Liver Cancer
AFP is a plasma protein that is produced in abundance by the liver cells. Pixabay

Researchers from China’s Zhejiang University, and Zhengzhou University, found that the microbial diversity in patients with cirrhosis was significantly lower than that in healthy people, but it increased when cirrhosis develops into cancer, the Xinhua reported.

Human gut microbiota has been considered the most important micro-ecosystem living with the body, containing tens of trillions of microorganisms, including at least 1,000 species of bacteria with more than 3 million genes.

Gut microbiota can help the body digest certain foods that the stomach and small intestine have not been able to digest.

Liver Cancer
A high-magnification image from a 2012 glioblastoma case is seen as an example in this College of American Pathologists image released from Northfield. VOA

For the study, appearing in the journal Gut, the team collected 486 fecal samples from across the country.

Also Read: Deaths Due to Cancer Increases to More Than 18 Mn Every Year: WHO

About 12 bacteria genera decreased and six increased in patients with early cancer compared with healthy people.

According to researchers, more data and further studies are needed to confirm the validity and reliability of the model. (IANS)

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