Tag Archives: new therapy

Glutamine Deprivation May Slow Pancreatic Cancer

Tumor growth in pancreatic cancer patients may be slowed using glutamine. Glutamine is an amino acid, which is one of the building blocks of proteins. Although it is typically considered a non-essential amino acid (meaning the body may make it on its own), glutamine is technically a conditionally essential amino acid. The term “essential” means that it must be gotten through the diet, so this amino acid is—in certain circumstances—acquired via intake of food.

Glutamine, which is the most abundant amino acid in the human body, plays a role in cancer tumor growth; so depriving the cancer cells of glutamine may hold the key to slowing the spread of cancer of the pancreas, a study shows.

Study on pancreatic tumor growth and glutamine

At the Division of Genomic Stability and DNA Repair, Department of Radiation Oncology (part of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) in Boston, Massachusetts, a group of researchers and doctors, J Son, CA Lyssiotis, et al., have investigated just how the amino acid glutamine is involved with the KRAS-regulated metabolic pathway, which is part of the cause of tumor growth within the pancreas itself.

The researchers studied the metabolism of cancer cells and glutamine dependencies since, unlike normal cells, the cells within cancer tumors maintain their own type of metabolism. They said that “an increased use of the amino acid glutamine to fuel anabolic processes. Indeed, the spectrum of glutamine-dependent tumors and the mechanisms whereby glutamine supports cancer metabolism remain areas of active investigation.”

Because human pancreatic cells use a non-standard pathway, which identifies ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells, most cells use “glutamate dehydrogenase (GLUD1) to convert glutamine-derived glutamate.” What this means is that the PDAC cells “are strongly dependent … as glutamine deprivation or genetic inhibition of any enzyme in this pathway leads to [a] series of reactions [that] results in a pronounced suppression of PDAC growth in vitro and in vivo.”

The scientists established that because the glutamine metabolism is reprogrammed and “mediated by oncogenic KRAS, the signature genetic alteration in PDAC [represses] key metabolic enzymes in this pathway.”

With the PDAC pathway and pancreatic cells being dispensable, the glutamine in normal cells then becomes a possible new therapeutic approach in treating pancreatic tumors in humans. Hopefully more will be forthcoming on this new technique in the near future.

Reference:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23535601

Glutamine Supplement: New Therapy For Ulcerative Colitis?

An animal study from Japan has found good news for ulcerative colitis sufferers. There is a possible new supplement, enriched with L-glutamine amino acid available on the market. This glutamine supplement could improve symptoms of colitis.

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic, long lasting disease. It’s an autoimmune disease, one of the forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).  Crohn’s disease is the other form of IBD.

Ulcerative colitis is a very painful condition which results in inflammation and open sores inside the colon. The inflammation harms the lining of the colon, which leads to bleeding, production of pus, constant diarrhea, and pain.

There are currently no cures for ulcerative colitis, so the goal for existing medical therapy is to induce and maintain remission. The symptoms can go for months or even years. When not in remission, treatments focus on reducing the symptoms, and improving quality of life for the patients.

In serious cases, surgical removal of the colon and rectum may be suggested, though this obviously greatly impacts on quality of life. A glutamine supplement was studied, which may help in IBD cases.

Glutamine supplement study

E Joo, S Yamane, et al, researchers at the Laboratory of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies, Kyoto University, Japan, investigated a new glutamine supplement for treating ulcerated colitis. The supplement contains the amino acid glutamine, fiber, and oligosaccharide.

A glutamine supplement has a variety of biochemical roles in the body, including improving gastrointestinal function. Glutamine supplement may help protect the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, which is damaged by ulcerative colitis.

The researchers tested mice, in which they induced colitis. The mice were given either the glutamine supplement, or a placebo, for ten days. The animals’ body weight loss and the measurable activity of colitis were tested.

Results of glutamine supplement for colitis

The glutamine supplement group had some impressive results. Their body weight loss and disease activity index were significantly lower. Additionally, intestinal inflammation was reduced with the glutamine supplement group.

The study concluded that a glutamine supplement has an excellent potential for a new therapy for ulcerative colitis.

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Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23274091

There are currently no cures for ulcerative colitis, so the goal for existing medical therapy is to induce and maintain remission. The symptoms can go for months or even years. When not in remission,