News

AddToAny

Google+ Facebook Twitter Twitter

Pulling the plug on pancreatic cancer

UK scientists have identified a new way to kill pancreatic cancer cells by “pulling the plug” on the energy generator that fuels calcium pumps on their cell surface.

They report how switching off the cancer’s energy supply causes the pancreatic cancer cells to become “poisoned” by an irreversible build-up of calcium.

Calcium inside cells is normally beneficial as it controls numerous cell functions. However, calcium levels are tightly controlled and normally kept at very low levels, as prolonged elevations in calcium lead to cell death.

This tight control is achieved by calcium pumps on the cell surface that use chemical energy to pump calcium out of the cell.

The scientists discovered that switching off the cancer cells’ energy supply causes these pumps to fail and calcium to rise, effectively poisoning the cell.  

go.nature.com/38srkyK

Image credit | iStock

Related Articles

Rare genetic mutations in donor stem cells

A stem cell transplant is a common treatment for blood cancers, such as acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

British Journal of Biomedical Science: issue 1 2020 – a synopsis

Deputy Editor Tony Rhodes provides a brief glimpse of the articles on offer in the first issue of 2020.

Autism spectrum disorder

New research has found that testing the DNA of siblings of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may be predictive of a future diagnosis, even if symptoms aren’t apparent.

Redefining how blood is made

Stem-cell scientists have discovered a completely new notion of how human blood is made, upending conventional views from the 1960s.

Top