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Drug targets cancer energy source

Researchers from Stanford University in California have developed a new drug, called STF-31, which attacks cancer cells by depriving them of their energy source, glucose.

Professor Amato Giaccia and his team focused their study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, on kidney tumours that are often resistant to typical chemotherapies.

They tested 64,000 synthetic chemical compounds on tumour cells and looked for signs of cell death.

Unlike healthy cells, many cancers produce energy by ingesting glucose.

The research team found that STF-31 hampers glucose transportation into the cells by blocking a molecular "gateway". This in turn hinders the growth of tumours.

Prof Giaccia said: "This study demonstrates an approach for selectively inhibiting the ability of cancer cells to take up glucose, which is a pretty powerful way of killing those cells."

The team also tested the compound on mice and found that STF-31 lowered the amount of glucose imported by cancer cells by nearly 50%.

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Science Translational Medicine