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Hyaluronic acid acts as food to pancreatic cancer cells, study shows



Hyaluronic acid, or HA, is a recognized presence in pancreatic tumors, however a brand new research from researchers on the College of Michigan Well being Rogel Most cancers Heart reveals that hyaluronic acid additionally acts as meals to the most cancers cells. These findings, not too long ago revealed in eLife, present perception into how pancreatic most cancers cells develop and point out new prospects to deal with them.

“A central driving theme in my analysis lab is that pancreatic most cancers doesn’t reply to the widespread arsenal of remedy approaches. We want to consider this problem otherwise,” mentioned Costas Lyssiotis, Ph.D., the lead investigator on the research. He and his staff research the metabolism of pancreatic most cancers in preclinical fashions: how cells get hold of vitamins and the spectrum of vitamins they make the most of to gas development and allow therapeutic resistance.

The tumor microenvironment, or the cells that make up the tumor, are a mix of many various cell sorts, some malignant, some not. A pancreatic tumor’s microenvironment is extremely stromal, that means the mass itself is generally comprised of connective tissue and non-cancerous immune cells.

Stroma happens within the physique’s pure scarring course of. As these scars are fashioned, an abundance of hyaluronic acid will get launched.”

Costas Lyssiotis, Ph.D, Examine Lead Investigator, Division of Molecular & Integrative Physiology, College of Michigan

Hyaluronic acid-;a polymer or lengthy chain of sugars-;is nice at attracting and retaining water. When a variety of it’s current, pancreatic tumors grow to be hyperdense, collapsing veins and blood move. Lyssiotis says these tumors grow to be very onerous.

“It’s not that there aren’t veins or arteries contained in the tumor. However the vasculature that’s there can’t stand up to the intense stress.”

Most research of hyaluronic acid in pancreatic most cancers have targeted on its function in creating this density. A current unsuccessful scientific trial even explored methods to degrade hyaluronic acid and launch stress on the tumors to permit the vasculature to develop and ship medicine, that are usually troublesome to manage given the dearth of blood move.

Lyssiotis and his lab needed to grasp hyaluronic acid past its contribution to the physiological make-up of pancreatic most cancers cells. They thought-about the density of those tumors, and puzzled: If most cancers cells aren’t having access to blood-derived vitamins, how are they getting the vitamins that gas cell development and grow to be tumors?

The lab’s new work signifies that a method cells do that is by scavenging the hyaluronic acid itself.

“Hyaluronic acid doesn’t solely have an effect on tumors by creating this density, which does make it troublesome to deal with,” Lyssiotis mentioned. “It’s actually a sequence of sugars. On reflection, it makes good sense that the malignant cells are additionally feeding off hyaluronic acid.”

Lyssiotis says this research demonstrates simply how effectively pancreatic most cancers cells scavenge vitamins in an effort to keep their survival and development.

“We’ve added one other instance right into a rising physique of proof of the vitamins and pathways we didn’t assume most cancers cells would use to scavenge.”

This research is co-published with a staff led by Kathryn Wellen, Ph.D., on the College of Pennsylvania. Her lab confirmed that inhibiting the sugar scavenging pathway blocks tumor development. Collectively, these research exhibit new alternatives by way of which to higher perceive the nuances of pancreatic most cancers.

“Folks have been finding out hyaluronic acid in pancreatic most cancers for 20 years and nobody had ever thought to see if it could possibly be a nutrient for most cancers cells,” Lyssiotis mentioned. “We’re going to dig deeper into this concept and see if it represents a therapeutic vulnerability that may be drugged.”


Michigan Medication – College of Michigan

Journal reference:

Kim, P. Okay., et al. (2022) Hyaluronic acid fuels pancreatic most cancers cell development. eLife.