Cancer's Weak Point Is Its Metabolism, CRISPR Reveals

American researchers have developed a novel CRISPR-based platform to identify and characterise essential nutrient transporters that support cancer cell proliferation. This innovative approach may have significant implications for targeting metabolic pathways in cancer treatment.

By: Gorm Palmgren - Apr. 16, 2024

#CRISPRMED24

Employing a CRISPR interference and activation (CRISPRi/a) screening platform, the researchers systematically identified crucial nutrient transporters that support cancer cell proliferation under different environmental conditions, including standard culture media and tumour settings.

The study unveiled a significant bidirectional flux in amino acid transport, heavily influenced by the microenvironment's composition. This discovery underscores the potential for therapeutic exploitation of transporter activity modulation in surrounding cellular conditions.

Further investigations uncovered a protective role for serotonin uptake in cystine-deprived cells, shielding them from ferroptosis, an iron-dependent form of cell death. This finding opens up new avenues for cancer therapy, highlighting the practical applications of our research in targeting metabolic vulnerabilities. The study also demonstrated the crucial role of transporters for glucose and amino acids in subcutaneous tumours, suggesting potential metabolic interventions to curb cancer growth.

The researchers provide a new perspective on effectively targeting cancer metabolism by focusing on the interaction between nutrient transporters and the tumour microenvironment.

The study was conducted by Christopher Chidley and Peter Sorger at Harvard Medical School and published in Nature Cell Biology last week. You can read it here.

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News: Cancer's Weak Point Is Its Metabolism, CRISPR Reveals
News: Cancer's Weak Point Is Its Metabolism, CRISPR Reveals
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