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News-in-brief / 04.13.15

New study examines cell survival in low-oxygen tumor environments

By Broad Communications

How do cancer cells survive the low blood supply of the tumor microenvironment? A team led by Broad senior associate member David Sabatini, a member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and professor of biology at MIT, recently found that brain cancer cells express high levels of metabolic enzymes SHMT2 and GLDC, and the resulting reduced oxygen consumption gives the cells a survival advantage in poorly vascularized tumor regions. Inhibiting GLDC in SHMT2-overexpressing cells leads to toxic glycine accumulation and may be a possible new avenue for therapeutics. The study was published online by the journal Nature.