In 2012 research by scientists at Cancer Research UK’s London Research Institute show that an enzyme called PFKFB4 is essential for balancing these two processes – making sure the cell’s energy needs are met without allowing free radicals to build up and trigger cell death.
Study leader Dr. Almut Schulze, said: “Our study suggests that PFKFB4 acts to fine-tune the process by which cells convert glucose into energy. Blocking this enzyme in prostate cancer cells grown in the lab stalled growth and triggered a catastrophic build-up of free-radicals, suggesting that it could be a suitable drug target. Importantly, this route to energy production is common to many different types of cancer, suggesting that drugs to target it could potentially be used to treat a variety of cancers.”
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Minchenko O, Opentanova I, Minchenko D, Ogura T, Esumi H (October 2004). "Hypoxia induces transcription of 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-biphosphatase-4 gene via hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha activation". FEBS Letters. 576 (1–2): 14–20. doi:10.1016/j.febslet.2004.08.053. PMID15474002.
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Ros S, Santos CR, Moco S, Baenke F, Kelly G, Howell M, Zamboni N, Schulze A (2012). "Functional metabolic screen identifies 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-biphosphatase 4 as an important regulator of prostate cancer cell survival". Cancer Discovery. 2 (4): 328–43. doi:10.1158/2159-8290.CD-11-0234. PMID22576210.