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A team of researchers from the Georgia Health Sciences University has discovered a source of fuel used by breast cancer. The group reports that blocking this source results in the death of breast cancer cells.
The findings could eventually be used to develop new medications that destroy all forms of breast cancer, particularly ones that are unresponsive to common therapies like tamoxifen.
In testing conducted in petri dishes and lab mice, the researchers found that blocking a transporter known as SLC6A14 prevents the delivery of the amino acids used as fuel for growth by breast cancer cells. After a while, the tumor simply withers and dies.
"It basically starves the cancer cell," said Vadivel Ganapathy, who participated in the research.
This amino acid transportation pathway is used throughout the body, but healthy cells do not entirely depend on it. Breast cancer cells are the prime beneficiaries of system. Therefore, Ganapathy said blocking the transport pathway would be an effective and targeted therapy for breast cancer.
Further investigation may be needed to determine how safe it would be to implement such a cancer-fighting approach in humans, but the researchers said it offers a promising avenue for the treatment of women who have received positive breast cancer tests.
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