Cells create their own fat molecules to build their plasma membranes and other critical structures. Now, researchers have found a way to obstruct this instrumental process to stifle cancer's growth, detailed in Nature Medicine. Like halting the delivery of supplies to a construction site, the approach stalls the molecular building blocks cancer needs to grow.
Researchers had previously hypothesized that interrupting cells' lipid assembly line could disable cancer, but it was only recently that they were able to disrupt the process and test this theory. The team partnered with a Boston-based biotech, Nimbus Therapeutics, which discovers and develops small molecules in the hopes of treating a variety of diseases, who were developing a molecule to shut off a critical player in lipid synthesis, an enzyme called Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase, or ACC.
In multiple and extensive large-scale tests in both animal models of cancer and in transplanted human lung cancer cells, the results of the novel ACC inhibitor, dubbed ND-646, were far more promising than expected: tumor mass shrank by roughly two-thirds compared to untreated animals. And when the researchers paired ND-646 with one of the common treatments for non-small lung cancer called carboplatin, the anti-tumor response was even greater: a dramatic 87 percent of tumors were suppressed, compared to 50 percent with the standard treatment of carboplatin alone.
This combination of carboplatin (which damages DNA, a problem for rapidly dividing cells) and ND-646 (knocking out ACC and halting lipid synthesis) didn't seem to impair normal cellseven as it dramatically slowed cancer growth.
Targeting fat to treat cancer
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