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Research & Initiatives

Cancer is a genetic disease that involves dynamic changes in the genome and is the result of several complex events. Changes in a cell, that direct transformation toward a malignant phenotype, include gain-of-function mutations that activate oncogenes, loss-of-function mutations that inactivate suppressor genes and mutations that inactivate stability genes. Stability genes include those responsible for mitotic recombination and chromosomal segregation. There are six distinctive characteristics that a cell acquires during its progression into malignancy: limitless replicative potential, sustained angiogenesis, avoidance of apoptosis, self-sufficiency in growth signals, insensitivity to anti-growth signals and tissue invasion and metastasis. These hallmarks have been studied extensively. Two emerging characteristics have recently been added to the list: evasion of immune destruction and reprogramming of energy metabolism. Although the latter is the most evident change in tumor cell metabolism, it is only part of the large picture of metabolic reprogramming. Besides energy, tumor cells require building block molecules, NADPH and NADH cofactors for housekeeping, growth and proliferation in a changing microenvironment. Tumor cells undergo metabolic reprogramming, which involves changes in the metabolic fluxes, to satisfy large demands for ATP, NADPH, NADH and carbon skeletons.
To carry out replicative division, a cell must duplicate its genome, proteins and lipids and assemble these elements into daughter cells. The increased rate of cell division in cancer requires metabolic pathways to be redesigned, giving rise to the tumor cell metabolism.
Based on the differences of metabolism of normal cells and tumor cells, our approach is unique in disrupting tumor cells metabolism for the starvation of tumor cells while maintaining metabolism of normal cells for the growth of normal cells. 

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