Monday, October 16, 2006

Mountaineers and Metastases

What to mountain climbers and cancer tumors have in common? They have to deal with low levels of oxygen. When healthy cells become hypoxic, they turn on a gene called HIF-1. The protein from this gene encourages the production of enzymes used for glycolysis, and also encourages the growth of capillaries to that cell.
When cancer tumors grow, they need lots of ATP but have few blood vessels. So cancer cells turn on HIF-1 to support their growth. Researchers like David Livingston at the Dana/Farber Cancer Institute are finding that if they can block HIF-1, then the tumor growth slows and the cells far from blood vessels die. Read more about HIF-1 at Wikipedia.

1 comment:

Walid Aljayousi said...

How effective will this be in the overall scope of defeating cancer I wonder? Also, is this the only way cancer cells survive long term? Either way, could be groundbreaking. Not much of a comment here, more of some questions. Oh well, I do enjoy this blog format by the way. Fits the discussion format of our class better.