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Energy-restriction Mimetic Agents – A New Class of Anticancer Drugs

Even Cancer cells require oxygen to grow. But they spread at a very faster rate. As a result, they outstrip the supply of blood to them. This results in shortage of oxygen in cancer cells. These cells then survive by producing energy through a mechanism which requires less oxygen and more sugar. Scientists at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center have tracked this survival mechanism of cancer cells. They have designed a drug still in its experimental stage, which inhibits this process to address the menace of cancer. The drug compels the cancer cells to undergo self-destruction. The results of the findings are published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. This article tries to gain further insight on this topic.

What are Energy-restriction Mimetic Agents: According to the researchers, the drug called OSU-CG12, falls under a brand new category of anti-cancer drugs. They are named as energy-restriction mimetic agents. These drugs target the survival mechanism of the cancer cells by inhibiting the supply of sugar glucose energy to them.

How the Drug was Designed: A drug called Ciglitazone was originally designed to treat type II diabetes. During the study, it was found that the drug possessed anticancer abilities in laboratory. A protein called PPAR-gamma was activated with the help of some genes, in the original drug which treated type 2 diabetes. Researchers initially believed that the protein had anti-cancer abilities because of this same mechanism. Later the study revealed that the sugar energy restriction mechanism was behind the anti-cancer ability of the drug.

When the structure of the ciglitazone drug’s molecule was changed, OSU-CG12 was developed. It was applied on prostate and breast cancer cells. The new drug was 10 times more effective in killing the cancer cells than ciglitazone. The new drug not only stops the supply of glucose to he cancer cells, but also brings down the ability of the cancer cells to either generate or spend sugar energy.

How the Cancer Cells Die: Lack of sugar energy makes the cancer cells eat their own selves. This process is called Autophagy. Some cells commit Apoptosis, which is the death of cells in a natural way. Further research is focused on increasing the efficacy of OSU-CG12 drug to new levels. According to the principal researchers of this study, the new class of drugs can address a host of other diseases like Diabetes, Obesity, Heart diseases, Metabolic syndromes and Alzheimer’s Disease.

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