Cancer cells have high energy needs and take advantage of the available nutrients and oxygen in their environment to help maintain their high metabolic rate by using glucose (sugar) for energy, a process which generates lactic acid. Too much lactic acid can be harmful to cells. However, cancer cells have developed strategies to avoid toxicity from lactic acid by increasing expression of two proteins, MCT1 and MCT4, that move lactate in and out of the cell. This strategy allows cancer cells to maintain their accelerated growth rates despite high lactic acid concentration. Researchers will investigate how canine cancer cells regulate MCT1 and MCT4 as their metabolic needs change. Findings will not only advance our understanding of the biology of cancer cell metabolism but provide information on the feasibility of blocking this pathway as a way of treating this devastating cancer.
Grant amount awarded
Cheryl A. London, DVM, PhD