Personalized cancer medicine now a step closer to reality

April 16th, 2011 - 3:43 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, April 16 (ANI): Researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson have come one step closer to personalized cancer medicine.

Identifying gene mutations in cancer patients to predict clinical outcome has been the cornerstone of cancer research for nearly three decades, but now researchers have invented a new approach that instead links cancer cell metabolism with poor clinical outcome. This approach can now be applied to virtually any type of human cancer cell.

The researchers demonstrate that recurrence, metastasis, and poor clinical outcome in breast cancer patients can be identified by simply gene profiling cancer cells that are using ketones and lactate as a food supply.

The investigators are calling this new approach to personalized cancer medicine “Metabolo-Genomics.”

High-energy metabolites have long been suspected to “fuel” aggressive tumor cell behavior. The researchers used this premise to generate a gene expression signature from genetically identical cancer cells, but one cell group was fed a diet of high-energy metabolites. These lactate- and ketone-induced “gene signatures” then predicted recurrence, metastasis, and poor survival.

“Tumors that are using the body’s own nutrients (lactate and ketones) as “fuel” have a poorer outcome for patient survival, a behavior that now can be used to predict if a patient is at a high-risk for recurrence or metastasis,” said Michael P. Lisanti, Professor and Chair of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and a member of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson.

“This is getting to the heart of personalized cancer medicine. Now, we have identified a panel of biomarkers that directly links cancer metabolism with targeted cancer therapy,” added P. Lisanti.

The finding is detailed in the online issue of Cell Cycle. (ANI)

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