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Blocking glutamine pumps to deny food to prostate cancer cells


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Convenor Jim Marshall had "senior moment" during last Friday's phone-in meeting when asked about an ABC interview two years ago.


The facts: Jim was approached by Associate Professor Jeff Holst about his glutamine pump research, and later agreed to give an interview to ABC's Ashley Hall for the AM program.


Jim Marshall (not a doctor) said ...


Amino acids are tiny compounds that take part in many processes in our body.

The most abundant free amino acid in our blood is glutamine.


Professor Holst team's first discovery

Normal cells rely on glucose to fuel their energy needs so they can grow and divide.

But prostate and other cancer cells rely on glutamine instead.

They suck in the glutamine using tiny pumps scattered over their cell surface.

The first discovery was that when prostate cancer cells grow, they increase the number of pumps on their surface to bring in more glutamine.


Professor Holst team's second discovery

The team is developing a drug which stops cancer cells from taking in glutamine.

The drug blocks the glutamine pump so it does not do its work.

Professor Holst expects the drug could enter clinical trials in as little as three years.

It would possibly be used together with other cancer treatments.

Prostate cancer, melanoma, and triple-negative breast cancer are all possible targets for the drug, because they all rely on extra glutamine pumps to bring in glutamine to use as food for growth.

... end Jim


Read the ABC account of the first step here:



Read the Daily Telegraph account of the next step here:



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