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Banaras Hindu University research to find insight into cure for cancer

To fight against deadly cancer disease the School of Biotechnology of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) has carried out a research that may provide a new insight in the cure of cancer especially the blood cancer after few years.

According to head of school Prof SM Singh, in the investigation he along with research scholars including Ajay Kumar and Shiva Kant of the department have studied cancer progression and method to inhibit it with fatty acid synthase and dicholoroacetate (DCA).

According to Singh, the in vitro treatment of cancer cells with DCA inhibited their survival and decline tumor cell proliferation without any harmful effect in normal cells, paving way for the therapeutic applications of DCA against cancer cells.

However, according to the research team the molecular mechanism of DCA still remain speculative to a large extent.

DCA can inhibit the tumour progression either by enhancing apoptosis (the programmed death of some of an organism’s cells as part of its natural growth and development) in endometrial cancer without any effect on cell proliferation or by inhibition cell proliferation in cancers like breast, lung, and prostate with no effect on apoptosis or cell death and also by inducing apoptosis as well as inhibiting proliferations in cancers like colorectal and lungs. Thus the mechanism by, which DCA inhibits growth of a variety of cancer cells could vary depending on their etiology.

According to Singh, the easy availability and low cost of DCA makes it a potential drug for antineoplastic applications, however it is yet to be approved for anticancer treatment. At the same time, it has only been tested against a few types of cancer cells, so this study was undertaken to investigate the unexplored molecular mechanisms of DCA with T cell tumors.

“In the research, it has been shown for the first time that DCA dependent inhibition of tumour cell survival also involves altered pH homeostasis and glucose metabolism. Apart from T cell tumours, other cancer cells have also been studied and it was observed that by changing the dose of DCA, cancer cell proliferation can be controlled”, informed Singh.

Besides, the same research team has also carried out preliminary research to study the molecular mechanism of antitumor action of fatty acid synthase (FASN). For the survival of cancer or tumour cell, the synthesis of fatty acid is crucial, and this synthesis is catalysed by FASN. The inhibition of FASN with its inhibitor orlistat (tetrahydrolipstatin) has been studied, which has resulted inhibition of cell survival, accompanied by induction of apoptosis.

According to Singh, the researches have already been published and since both the preliminary researches are very promising the department is keen to work more on this project. Singh said, a proposal for a continuing this project would be forwarded to the department of Bio Technology (DBT), government of India to seek technical and financial support. (TOI)

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