For many of us, the word ‘fat’ brings up visions of greasy hamburgers or potbellies and cellulite. But on a molecular level fats, or lipids, are necessary to carry out a host of critical cellular functions, from cell division to sending signals within and among groups of cells. Cancer cells are no different. If anything, they may need a more ready supply of lipids to fuel their frenetic growth.
Now, oncologist Dean Felsher, MD, PhD, and chemist Richard Zare, PhD, together with postdoctoral scholars Arvin Gouw, PhD and Katherine Margulis, PhD, have linked the ability of a cancer-associated gene called Myc to trigger an increase in lipogenesis, or fat production, to its promotion of tumor development. Blocking this activity, they found, caused human tumors in mice to shrink. They published their results in Cell Metabolism.