We’re studying how cancer cells generate energy and use nutrients so that we can figure out how to treat the disease more effectively.
Metabolism is what makes life tick. It allows organisms to convert nutrients into energy and building blocks required for their survival and function. Cancer cells also need metabolism but use it in different ways.
We are carrying out a detailed analysis of the ways in which cancer cells generate energy, use nutrients, and create the chemical ‘building blocks’ that they need in order survive, grow and multiply (known as metabolic pathways). We want to understand the molecular components of these pathways, to find out how cancer cells manage to ‘re-wire’ their metabolism to cope with the demands of rapid growth and fend off our body’s defenses.
Towards this goal, we are developing molecules that act as chemical ‘sensors’ inside cancer cells, revealing important information about how metabolic pathways change over time as tumours grow. These investigations provide us with knowledge of the crucial differences between metabolic pathways in tumours and healthy tissue and help us identify weak spots in cancer’s processes that could be targeted with drugs.
By studying how metabolism differs between cancer and normal cells, we aim to both understand the fundamental principles that underlie life and, in the process, identify therapeutic opportunities against cancer.