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CAAT and Hopkins Researchers Identify Neurotransmitter that Helps Cancers Progress.

Using human cancer cells, tumor and blood samples from cancer patients, researchers at CAAT and Johns Hopkins Medicine have uncovered the role of a neurotransmitter in the spread of aggressive cancers. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that transmit impulses from neurons to other target cells.

The work, described in Cell Reports (see below), found that the neurotransmitter N-acetyl-aspartyl-glutamate (NAAG) is more abundant in cancers with a tendency to grow and spread rapidly, i.e., so-called higher grade cancers, than in lower grade tumors, making it a potential marker for tumor progression or regression during cancer therapy. The experiments also demonstrated that NAAG is a source of glutamate in tumors that express the enzyme glutamate carboxypeptidase II (GCPII). Inhibiting GCPII with 2-PMPA to treat human ovarian tumors implanted in ovaries of mice reduced tumor weights and glutamate concentrations. They noted that targeting both GCPII and glutaminase, the enzyme that converts glutamine to glutamate, resulted in a more substantial tumor reduction in patient-derived pancreatic cancer tumors implanted in pancreas of mice, since it attacked the production of glutamate from both glutamine and from NAAG.

CAAT's Thomas Hartung and Andre Kleensang co-authored the paper.

Full press release: https://www.eurekalert. org/pub_releases/2019-04/jhm-hri042319. php

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Title Annotation:CAAT feed
Publication:ALTEX: Alternatives to Animal Experimentation
Article Type:Disease/Disorder overview
Date:Jun 22, 2019
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