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Cancer Cure 2019: Study leads to better strategy in stopping the spread of ovarian cancer cells

A micrograph of ovarian clear cell carcinoma. | Nephron [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)] via Wikimedia Commons

A group of researchers recently reported identifying a specific enzyme that they found to be speeding up the spread of a certain deadly type of ovarian cancer cells. By targeting it, they came up with a way to reverse that cycle.

Next, to finding a cure for cancer, the main goal among many researchers is to find better treatment strategies. Some studies are focused on increasing the survival rate among patients, while others are looking for ways to impede the spread of cancer cells.

Scientists looking to develop better ovarian cancer treatment

Researchers from Penn State College of Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, and Drexel University recently published a paper identifying the enzyme called isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1). It is reportedly a major factor that contributes to the growth of a deadly type of ovarian cancer.

The paper, published in Molecular Cancer Research, reported that high-grade serous carcinoma (HGSC) is the most commonly diagnosed and fatal type of epithelial ovarian cancer. While treatments currently exist for this type of cancer, scientists observed that a high number of HGSC-diagnosed patients tend to be resistant or to relapse from chemotherapies.

Scientists learned that HGSC cells favor using glucose in the citric acid cycle and not for aerobic glycolysis as normal cells do. In other cases, cancer cells are known to prefer the aerobic glycolysis to convert sugar to energy, so it is the focus of other treatments.

However, the study found that a “wild-type” of IDH1 is greatly linked to the citric acid cycle and the enzyme’s protein production is increased among patients with HGSC cells. This discovery paves the way for new treatment strategies effectively targeting IDH1 with the spread of HGSC cells. The researchers observed that through pharmacological inhibition, targeting IDH1 reduced the spread of HGSC cells.

Cancer remains one of the most fatal diseases worldwide

Latest data from the World Health Organization show that various types of cancer account for around 9.6 million deaths in 2018, while 18.1 million new diagnoses were reported in the same year. The United States’ National Cancer Institute also reports that over 13,900 deaths are estimated in 2019 as the survival rate within five years is observed at 47.6 percent.

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