The researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center discovered that cancer cells express DUX4, a gene responsible for certain muscular dystrophies, to protect themselves from the effects of immunotherapy, in particular – from immune checkpoint inhibitors. The implications of this research would be development of therapies that would target DUX4 and thus make treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors more efficient. The study is due to be published in Developmental Cell.
It is known that cancer cells spread in the body by feeding on sugar. British researchers discovered that if deprived of sugar, cancer cells switch, with the help of a protein called AKR1B10, to fatty acids as a source of energy to boost their spread. The implications could be for diagnosis, as increased levels AKR1B10 may predict metastatic spread; and for management, which means development of new treatments that would prevent cancer cells from using fatty acids. This preclinical study was published in Nature Communications.