Health Watch - Cancer Research: Kidney Cancer

Health Watch is a Public Service of the University News Bureau and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about scientific research into cancer. One approach to fighting kidney cancer is to starve cancer cells.

Most cells in the most common type of kidney cancer aren’t able to use oxygen for energy. They have to use glucose. Dr. James Brugarolas, a developmental biologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says this means that drugs that keep cells from using glucose could kill cancer cells without affecting normal cells that can still use oxygen for fuel. UT Southwestern researchers have also been studying a rare form of kidney cancer that results from a mutation in a gene that allows cells to use oxygen for energy. Doctors tried an experimental drug that blocks the use of glucose on a patient with advanced cancer from this mutation, but didn’t get the desired results. The patient allowed her tumor to be studied after her death, and genetic sequencing and tissue samples are allowing scientists to continue their work.

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July 2011

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