New technology advances oncology research at USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute
Breakthrough technology is providing researchers at USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute a more precise understanding of how cancer cells grow.
By Brittany Otis
Breakthrough technology, made possible through a grant award from the United States Army, is providing researchers at USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute a more precise understanding of how cancer cells grow.
The instrument, called the Seahorse XFe96 Analyzer, is being used to monitor metabolic changes and mitochondrial functions of cells in patients.
According to Natalie Gassman, Ph.D., assistant professor of physiology and cell biology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a researcher at MCI, cancer is a metabolic disease, therefore tumors often reprogram their consumption of sugars and fats to promote growth. This process leads to changes in mitochondrial function which promotes cell growth and alters antioxidant balance in cells. These changes can make tumors more aggressive and resistant to chemotherapy.
Using this tool, researchers are able to further explore potential new strategies for cancer treatment.
“It’s exciting to have this instrument as it allows us to observe the sugar consumption and mitochondrial changes in cancer cells to help us understand how to better care for patients,” said Gassman. “This instrument will give us insight on how to more precisely target metabolic changes with new drugs or supplementation strategies for patients battling cancer.”
Jennifer Scalici, M.D., chief of gynecologic oncology service, and Marie Migaud, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology at the USA College of Medicine, both researchers at MCI, are the other key investigators whose projects are part of this instrumentation award.
The mission at the Mitchell Cancer Institute is to discover, develop and deliver innovative solutions to improve cancer outcomes.