Tag Archives: cancer treatment

Tyrosine and Tyrosine Kinase for Thyroid Cancer

Tyrosine amino acid has a number of health benefits; however, it may not be helpful for skin cancer. That said, related to this is the enzyme tyrosine kinase, which is used to treat thyroid cancer according to some research done at the Department of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

Thyroid cancer statistics from the American Cancer Society includes:

“About 62,980 new cases of thyroid cancer (47,790 in women, and 15,190 in men)
“About 1,890 deaths from thyroid cancer (1,060 women and 830 men)
“Thyroid cancer is commonly diagnosed at a younger age than most other adult cancers. Nearly 2 out of 3 cases are found in people younger than 55 years of age. About 2% of thyroid cancers occur in children and teens.”

Although tyrosine, an essential amino acid (which means your body produces it on its own rather than relying on diet alone). Protein foods like meats, eggs, and fish provide all 22 amino acids. However, the enzyme tyrosine kinase has been researched as a helpful supplement for treating thyroid cancer. Standards for the treatment are needed, but this medical study below examples how tyrosine kinase is an effective cancer treatment.

Tyrosine kinase as a thyroid cancer treatment

Tyrosine kinase is an enzyme that transfers a phosphate group from ATP over to proteins within cells, which attaches to the amino acid tyrosine on these proteins. The enzyme also attaches to other amino acid such as threonine or serine, but tyrosine kinases have a special ability to mutate to an “on” position. This allows growth of the cells to happen, which is extremely important for treating cancer.

These are called tyrosine kinase inhibitors and can help in cancer treatments, including for thyroid cancer.

A study by AA Carhill, ME Cabanillas, et al., in Houston’s Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, have studied tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy in regards to creating standards for treating patients with thyroid cancer.

The researchers needed a “systematic approach to the clinical application of these agents in order to improve patient safety and monitoring promote consistency among providers, and ensure compliance with both institutional and industry standards.”

Their conclusions were based on the tyrosine kinase inhibitor applications they reviewed, including professional guidelines for thyroid cancer, plus reports, trials, and articles, etc., all published in the prior decade. They also included older studies for tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

The research allowed them to develop a “standardized approach related to prescribing commercially available tyrosine kinase inhibitors … for patients with advanced thyroid cancer.”

It is already important to note the already-established knowledge of enzyme-based tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy, just as tyrosine and other amino acids are well known for their health benefits, but to help develop a standard for thyroid cancer therapy using enzymes was needed, and the void met.





L-Carnitine To Become Cancer Cachexia Treatment?

A European animal study has found that L-carnitine supplementation could become part of treatment for cancer-related cachexia.

Cancer-related cachexia is a devastating wasting syndrome, where the sufferer experiences dramatic muscle loss and weight loss. This is caused by the body’s own immune system which is attempting to fight the cancer, but breaks down and destroys skeletal muscle and fat tissue.

It usually occurs in advanced cancer, and severely affects quality of life. Some patients with cancer cachexia become so frail they cannot even walk.

The National Cancer Institute estimates that about a third of all cancer deaths are caused by cancer cachexia. This is not only due to extreme frailty, but also because cachexia hinders treatment responses.

S Busquets, R Serpe, et al, part of the Cancer Research Group, Departament de Bioquímica i Biologia Molecular, Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, developed an animal trial to study the effects of L-carnitine on cancer-related cachexia.

L-carnitine is the biologically-active form of the amino acid carnitine. Carnitine is made in the body from two other amino acids: lysine and methionine. It plays a significant role in the metabolism of fatty acids. L-carnitine is a very popular health supplement.

L-carnitine and cancer cachexia animal study

The researchers gave L-carnitine to rats with an extremely cachectic rat tumor. The rats received 1 gram of L-carnitine per kilo of body weight. Food intake, muscle mass, and physical performance were analyzed.

Results were extremely promising. The L-carnitine supplements significantly improved the animal’s food intake. The rats’ muscle weight also improved. The rats’ physical performances improved, as measured by their total physical activity, how quickly they moved, and how far they travelled.

The L-carnitine also affected the cancer genes, possibly causing some apoptosis, or cell death.

The researchers concluded that supplementation with L-carnitine could become part of a successful, non-toxic, therapy for cancer-related cachexia.



Glycine Metabolism: Cancer Targeting Treatment?

Are we now able to peek into dangerous areas, like cancer, that would normally kill us? Scientists are having a look at glycine metabolism and its role in cancer growth. Researchers in Boston investigated the mutations cells undergo when healthy cells are mutated into cancer cells, and looked into possible ways of targeting these cancer cells.

Cancer occurs when previously healthy cells mutate, proliferating—replicating–rapidly. In fact, the definition of cancer is a malignant neoplasm, which refers to a group of diseases involving unregulated cell growth. The cancer cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors which are often fatal. Rapidly proliferating cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or lymphatic system.

Very simply put, cancer can spread so rapidly because cancer cells reprogram normal, healthy cells. Mohit Jain, Roland Nilsson, et al, researchers with Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA, wanted to examine this metabolic reprogramming of cancer cells.

They studied 60 well-characterized human cancer cell lines, from nine common tumor types, to characterize cancer cell metabolism. The researchers profiled the cellular consumption and release of over 200 metabolites, the molecules which are necessary for metabolism.

Link between glycine metabolism and cancer cells

In the in vitro experiment, cancer cell lines were cultured, and their metabolites were measured. The researchers found a significant correlation between glycine consumption and cancer cell proliferation.

Glycine is a non-essential amino acid, which can be synthesized by our bodies. In the study, glycine was consumed by rapidly proliferating cells, and released by slowly proliferating cells. This means that glycine is demanded by the cancer cells. The glycine consumption was pronounced in ovarian, colon, and melanoma tumor cells.

The researchers discovered that the glycine biosynthetic pathway was closely linked to cancer cell proliferation, meaning that the cancer was relying on glycine to spread. This increased reliance could make the cancer cells metabolically vulnerable to specific targeting.

The study concluded that this metabolism of glycine could be used to target the rapidly proliferating cancer cells, possibly becoming a new anti-cancer treatment.