A new way to target tumor cells

Chingkuang Tu, PhD, Susan Frost, PhD, and David N. Silverman, PhD.

Whether a tumor flourishes or dies depends, to an extent, on the acidity of the environment in which it lives, and a certain enzyme plays a key role in that balance, new research from UF Shands Cancer Center researchers has shown. An enzyme known as carbonic anhydrase IX influences tumor biology by working to keep acidity—or pH—at a level at which normal cells perish, but cancer cells thrive. “We don’t know why cancer cells can tolerate low pH—but they do, and we believe that carbonic anhydrase is a significant player in picking the specific pH at which the cells are happiest,” said biochemist Susan Frost, Ph.D., who led the research team. The enzyme may serve as a new target for visualizing, diagnosing and treating cancer. The findings were published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Czerne Reid

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Summer 2011

From the Director’s Desk

Year after year, the number of adults who smoke in the United States continues to decline, and according to the American Cancer Society, rates of lung cancer in men and women have begun to ebb as well.

UF Lung Cancer Center unites experts for patient-focused care

Gary Love had been retired two years when he first noticed the strange, draining feeling in his head. He went to the doctor, thinking it was a sinus infection. It wasn’t.

UF researchers find quiet protein speaks loudly in fight against cancer

When a movie character says, “It’s too quiet,” that’s usually a sign something bad may happen.

Now, University of Florida researchers have discovered that when variations of a certain protein in our cells are too quiet, it may add to the risk that someone will develop lung cancer.

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