Cancer Weakness Discovered: New Method Pushes Cancer Cells Into Remission

Artistic Rendering of Cancer Cells

The most successful targets for precision medicine can be found by using algorithms created by University of Michigan researchers. These algorithms successfully identify the weakest targets in ovarian cancer cells—genes these cells depend on to live in the human body.

Cancer cells delete DNA when they go to the dark side, so a team of doctors and engineers targeted the ‘backup plans’ that run essential cell functions.

Researchers at the University of Michigan and Indiana University have discovered a cancer weakness. They found that the way that tumor cells enable their uncontrolled growth is also a weakness that can be harnessed to treat cancer. 

Their machine-learning algorithm can identify backup genes that only tumor cells use, allowing drugs to precisely target cancer.

The researchers used mice to demonstrate their innovative precision medicine approach to treating ovarian cancer. Furthermore, the cellular behavior that reveals these vulnerabilities is common in most cancers, implying that the algorithms might generate superior treatment plans for a variety of cancers.

Abhinav Achreja and Deepak Nagrath

Abhinav Achreja, Ph.D., Research Fellow at the University of Michigan Biomedical Engineering and Deepak Nagrath, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering work on ovarian cancer cell research in the bio-engineering lab at the North Campus Research Center (NCRC). Credit: Marcin Szczepanski/Lead Multimedia Storyteller, University of Michigan College of Engineering

“This could revolutionize the precision medicine field because the drug targeting will only affect and kill cancer cells and spare the normal cells,” said Deepak Nagrath, a U-M associate professor of biomedical engineering and senior author of the study published in Nature Metabolism. “Most cancer drugs affect normal tissues and cells. However, our strategy allows specific targeting of cancer cells.”

This method is known as collateral lethality, and it involves leveraging information acquired from genes that cancer cells discard to identify weaknesses. The human body is equipped with a variety of defenses against cancer. Cancer cells used to have suppressor genes that prevented them from spreading. Those cells, however, have a clever strategy for dealing with this; they simply delete a portion of their DNA that contains those suppressor genes.

In doing so, the cells typically lose other genes that are necessary for survival. To avoid death, the cells find a paralog—a gene that can serve a similar function. Usually, there are one or, possibly, two genes that can step in and perform the same function to keep the cell alive.

What if you could identify the right paralog and target it in a way that shuts down its vital function for the cell?

“When a direct replacement for the deleted metabolic gene is not available, our algorithms use a mathematical model of the cancer cells’ metabolism to predict the paralogous metabolic pathway they might use,” said Abhinav Achreja, a U-M research fellow in biomedical engineering and lead author on the research paper. “These metabolic pathways are important to the cancer cells and can be targeted selectively.”

Attacking metabolic pathways essentially shuts down the cell’s energy source. In examining ovarian cancer cells, U-M’s team zeroed in on one gene, UQCR11, that was often deleted along with a suppressor gene. UQCR11 plays a vital role in cell respiration—how cells break down glucose for energy in order to survive.

Disturbances in this process can lead to a major imbalance of an important metabolite, NAD+, in the mitochondria, where respiration takes place. Despite all odds, ovarian cancer cells continue to thrive by relying on their backup plan.

U-M’s algorithm correctly sorted through multiple options and successfully predicted a cell missing UQCR11 would turn to the gene MTHFD2 as its backup supplier of NAD+.

Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine helped validate the findings in the lab. This team, led by professor of medicine Xiongbin Lu, developed genetically modified cell and animal models of ovarian cancers with the deletions. Six out of six mice tested showed complete cancer remission.

Reference: “Metabolic collateral lethal target identification reveals MTHFD2 paralogue dependency in ovarian cancer” by Abhinav Achreja, Tao Yu, Anjali Mittal, Srinadh Choppara, Olamide Animasahun, Minal Nenwani, Fulei Wuchu, Noah Meurs, Aradhana Mohan, Jin Heon Jeon, Itisam Sarangi, Anusha Jayaraman, Sarah Owen, Reva Kulkarni, Michele Cusato, Frank Weinberg, Hye Kyong Kweon, Chitra Subramanian, Max S. Wicha, Sofia D. Merajver, Sunitha Nagrath, Kathleen R. Cho, Analisa DiFeo, Xiongbin Lu and Deepak Nagrath, 21 September 2022, Nature Metabolism.
DOI: 10.1038/s42255-022-00636-3

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute, the Office of the Director for the National Institutes of Health, the University of Michigan Precision Health Scholars Award, and the Forbes Scholar Award from the Forbes Institute of Cancer Discovery.

56 Comments on "Cancer Weakness Discovered: New Method Pushes Cancer Cells Into Remission"

  1. This is great stuff until Big Pharma waves a fat check in front of their faces wanting to buy the rights to the discovery. Once Big Pharma get the rights, they will shelve this discovery so they can continue to push their failed “chemo” treatment. Remember, it’s always more profitable to “treat” than to CURE. For over 20 years we’ve been hearing of these cancer “breakthroughs”, but where are they now? If you think for one second Big Pharma will ever allow cures for cancer, I have a bridge I can sell you ;-). Merry Christmas!

    • Your absolutely right

      • Absolutely. If they can’t buy him, they will bog it down in the FDA approval process, whereas they quickly greenlighted another highly experimental gene therapy for a disease with 99+% survivability and mandated that all humanity take it before it has even been animal tested.

  2. Blessings to those who keep persisting in this admirable work. Don’t stop your efforts. Cancer patients need you!

  3. Likely too late a brilliant discovery for me as my cancer is in my sinuses, extremely aggressive and this promising approach will hopefully benefit many in the near future! Praying for them and myself. F*** Cancer!!!

  4. Keep fighting this war,for us. Cancer will be defeated with these great young people who I love and thanks formore time.James Cancer in Columbus.

  5. I’m definitely concern about Big Pharm. Let get this product through. We need the help. Thank all that worked so hard on this Progress. Go is Stronger than us all.I keep 🙏 praying

  6. This is such great news. Thank you for all of your hard work and time spent on all of your fact finding and trial testing. As a cancer survivor what we fear most is cancer coming back. Staying in remission is key. Again thank you for all of your time and energy that you put into this. Huge WIN!

  7. I would love to be in the clinical trial. A targeted chemotherapy is now keeping me alive, but my cancer is likely to find a way around it eventually.

  8. Love all the efforts all the scientists are exploring to help us the cancer patients but like Gerry said big pharm is in control of those looking for a cure and will not allow or will disregard all their efforts. The only people that can back them up are the patients on chemo and amatase inhibitors refuse to take these meds. They create more damage to the rest of normal cells destroying the patients in a slow methodical method and creating new damage, ( brain, cognitive damage permanent, destruction of nerves system, called neuropathy. Which can kill you after reaching stage 5. Muscle damage performance leading to permanent damage and personally putting you in a wheelchair ect) but big pharm really is not there to cure only greed to recieve the 4,000.00 dollars ever 28 days for each chemo they give for long term chemo like bone cancer 1. Year. Lymphoma 1 year of treatment breast cancer depending on stage between 6 months to up to over 10 cycles. Which is 10 months. Or more Etc…
    This does not include the isolation of a patients long term to stay away from groups. Unable to enjoy simple things like go to a therater enjoying a movie. Family members not visiting afraid they will make you sick because your immunity is low etc..No big pharmand the FDA does not care. Money rules not human life, if cured, you can achieve once again to become an active member of society again. Paying taxes. Contributing

  9. I agree with the previous comment. In the United States especially big pharma will never let a cure reach anyone. More money is made on the sick than people getting better. Big pharma will always run the show .

  10. This whole cancer field is sick itself. Yes on big pharma and how they work. Know one young was told if she raised $500 million MAYBE they would try to study her cancer. She did, they named a new room in clinic after her, and her grave is not far from here. Sick, sick programs, pharma $$$$ biggest gain, not patients.

  11. This is awesome news for all cancer patients. UofM Rogel Cancer Center is the best in my eyes. God Bless all researchers striving to find how to outsmart cancer. Every journey is different and cancer is not a one sized fit all.

  12. All true. Chemo will allways play a big role. But when there’s no more options, there is hope.

  13. Maybe Elon Musk needs to start a company to pursue this avenue of promising treatments. He seems to have a knack for breaking old ways of doing things.

  14. I’m sure she saved lives from the jab!

  15. Only a general can loose the war. Almost every state has cancer research hospital and institute. People donate money. Look at the salaries of CEO almost one million . Funds are not being properly used for research.
    I think we should pay attention of prevention of these diseaes.

  16. are clinical trials available for this?

  17. Since big pharma wouldn’t let them use the existing cancer cure, what makes anyone believe they’ll let them use any other. Until the Lord removes them nothing will happen, they’re too greedy. What does it profit a man though he gains the whole world and loses his soul.

  18. This whole “big pharma won’t let us cure cancer” idea is garbage. Big pharma people get cancer too. Besides you could sell a cancer cure for a gargantuan sum.

  19. So you want to spend 3 billion and 10 years with a 95% chance of failure instead of letting companies do it?

    95% of drugs are shelved because they literally fail and pharma pays the price.

  20. This country and it’s billion dollar companies make me sick. What the fu$#. What happened to the importance of humanity…what a joke. Big pharma will never be interested. Bunch of cold bastards. It’s all government controlled by a bunch of money hungry communists. Oh, did I say this? This country is not as free for we the people as they want us to think or believe. Us pee ons have no say so about way too many things that just are never going to change. What the hell do we have to do to be heard and helped?

  21. Wow. Such an amazing discovery. Glad to see science making such a positive discovery. This discovery can only lead to more cancer healing discoveries.

  22. If this story isn’t fictitious or a complete fabrication I for one would be willing to be the first participant in the human trials MR. SR

  23. The conspiratorial big pharma comments are absurd. No one could keep the lid on this, even if they wanted to. Amazing progress. Keep it up!

  24. Somebody forward this to Elon. He’s the only chance of big money backing something this revolutionary.

  25. It appears man is further on the brink of disabling Mother Nature’s culling iron. Man is dooming his species. But till then we’ve, we live.

  26. I agree with just about every comment made its all about money and population control.

  27. I’ve used Essiac Tea f years to treat cancer, as have others I know. The stuff is inexpensive and works. You only need to cut out sugar. You can still use honey.

  28. BIG PHARMA…you make me sick…I lost my dad to bone cancer, and to know that there could have been a drug to prolong his life longer and you stopped it, IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!!!
    But, if it was one of there family members, I can bet my life that they make sure their family member gets the treatment…the president should get involved..but he won’t..he’s on their side…the government is crooked from the post office all the way to the white house!! And as for Trump..the reason they don’t want him president is cuz he speaks the truth and refused on being a puppet…I hope Trump runs again and wins…at least he wants America to be America again…screw you Big Pharma and your $$$…

    The real solution…

  30. Pharmaceutical companies will purchase the patents and bury the finding. Presenting a cure, which never comes, is too profitable. You must educate to cure yourself. Chris Beat Cancer is very helpful.

  31. I agree with Big Pharma comments.
    EPA and FDA are held back from banning Glyphosate. This toxin is used to produce the weedkiller Roundup. The EPA and FDA both have employees from Monsanto/Bayer/Never-ending list of parent companies which produces Glyphosate. This toxin has been scientifically proven to directly cause Hodgkin’s Lymphoma These two organizations need to be expunged of Monsanto employees.
    If consumers stopped purchasing and using Roundup (sold by Walmart,Lowe’s, Home Depot), it would deter Monsanto from producing it. The cases of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma would drastically decline.
    Millions of dollars have been paid in lawsuits by Monsanto to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma victims.
    There are lots of alternatives to synthetic chemicals for gardening. Organic methods: ladybugs, plastic owls, Irish Spring soap, fish emulsion, organic composting.
    Monsanto also produced defoliant Agent Orange used as

  32. if you cant wait for new treatments look into fenbendazole

  33. I have Multiple Myeloma. Dies this treatment help this cancer ?? I was luck myn PM doctor caught mine early. Had stem cell transplant but still I’m partial remission.But have the monthly chemo maintenance Revlimid 21 days on 7 off. It is slowly making my muscles weaker and always tired. A break through with this cancer would be fantastic.Im going on treatment for 3 years . Wish the doctors worked on this type of cancer more.

  34. Can I sign up for clinical trial? I have an incurable cancer called neuroendocrine.

  35. I am no fan of Big Pharma, but to suggest that they and/or the FDA will somehow suppress this is pure idiocy. Like the 60-year or so rumor that the energy companies bought and shelved the patent for the carburator that delivers 50MPG – it’s just not true.

  36. It’s very interesting and promising research, hopefully we’ll be hearing more and more about it in future.
    I have a comment about SciTechDaily’s website. The articles are distracting because they’re so full of large whitespaces. The pages are coded very poorly using old-school tables and all sorts of unnecessary and garbage code. It’d time to update the technology for their website!

  37. Hello, This is very interesting information. I was diagnosed with High Grade Serous Carcinoma of the Ovary, November 2021. The oncologists treatment plan was Carboplatin given by an Intraperitoneal port that was implanted under my skin and sat near the top of my left rib cage. There was a tube that went from that port into my abdomen. I was also given Paclitaxel intravenously.
    I completed 7 rounds of chemo between January 4 and May 24 of this year. In June I started on a daily chemo med called Zejula/Niraparib capsules ,200gms. This med is supposed to slow down the growth of the cancer. My Oncologist said it’s not a matter of if the cancer grows enough to need chemo treatments, it’s a matter of when . He said it could be 6 months or it could be 3 years.
    If their program starts a trial,I would be very, very interested in participating in it . Thank you

  38. Big Pharma is made up of people just like you and I , they too have lost loved ones to cancer and many have dealt with their own battles as well.
    It’s ridiculous to think that a group of individuals would intentionally hide the cure for cancer. A company that makes this discovery will find riches beyond our imaginations

  39. Cancer patients are some of the strongest and most brave people I will ever know!!! God bless you and those that help you in your fight against this demon !!!! Keep fighting and keep searching, All of you are amazing!!!

  40. God has overcome the world…

  41. I heared that Intermittened fasting helps to destroy cancer cells and veagan diet helps also

  42. This is great info until Big Pharma gets into it. They will lose to much money to cure cancer. Why do you think they haven’t cured diabetes.

  43. We have to exercise starving the cancer through food restriction. Fasting and alkalizing our bodies. This study and others prove that we can kill cancer cells. Please please learn of natural remedies ❤️

  44. So it says during this diagnostics that you guys found a missing cell maybe themsel wasn’t missing at all this is molecules is too small to be acknowledged and then whenever you shut the other ones down able to get bigger and and so when they got bigger it was able to be able to confirmed and identified so in order to break something down what are you going to replace something to bring something up to support that breakdown of that because everything runs in sequence and a unity unit.??

  45. I hope it kills cancer cells even thyroid cancer cells I have and I pray for this I lost my thyroid taking thyroid pill need 131 I haven’t done it in years even tho I was told years ago I hope they take this inconsideration for thyroid patients as well thank you

  46. My heart goes out to all who is fighting cancer. I lost my dad to it and wish I knew then what I know now. Why is a glucose medium given during the PET scan? Because it lights up the cancer. I have read about some success treating some cancers by depriving the body of sugar (this means processed sugars, fruits and lots of carbs) which deprives the cancer of fuel it needs to survive. I find it interesting that this new study works on the how the cell processes glucose. Think about it.

  47. Earlier the Better | December 10, 2022 at 9:03 am | Reply

    Great ! Failure after Failure in the past until now; How come a person who had normal life suddenly encounters Cancer, Particularly after going past middle age much of the time? Even Babies are afflicted at 2 yrs. of age; What is needed is to do several kinds of Genetics studies continuously. Polar Bears are seen walking on Snow/ICE as though it is their Carpet laid out for them, Without wearing any Winter Jackets like Humans. How come? Transfer various varying genes of Polar Bears to mice or rats in labs and see what happens. Record the Findings. Never mix up with their General population afterwards and Don’t dump their dead bodies either. Store at Absolute temp. for Future generations to go back and re-study with better knowledge ! I am not referring to Cancer here… Only to Knowledge of Genetics !

    • Earlier the Better | December 10, 2022 at 2:10 pm | Reply

      There are various types of cancers. So, work has been slow. But, Progeria babies become 80 yrs. old when they are only 7 to 8 yrs. old. So, Get Various Genes of such unfortunate children and transfer into mice and rats. Find out why it happens and how to cure such mice and rats. NEVER Dump such animals. Preserve them at Absolute temp. for future scientists to take a look at the issue all over again ! We need abundant free energy to preserve all cadavers, yes !

  48. I hope baba vanga prediction wright…the blind fortune teller from balkan. She said cancer will find cure at 2022.

  49. Extremely sad we live in what should and was created to be the a country of the people for the people and somehow greed and corruption of big pharma, FDA, and who knows what other entities prevent this from being the greatest country in the history of the world as our founders intended.

  50. Anything that WORKS will never see the light of day!! Cancer is big business!! $$$$$
    My “treatment” is from 1950! Same drugs! Nothing new! 2 out of 3 women will get breast cancer …how much longer until its ALL? 1 year?

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