April 23, 2019
Cancer cell metabolism—as well as tumor growth and drug sensitivity—is profoundly influenced by the nutrient profile of the surrounding microenvironment. However, according to new research from the laboratory of KI member Matthew Vander Heiden, the nutrient composition of tumor interstitial fluid is significantly different from the plasma that feeds normal cells. Research in mice also shows variation based on diet and tumor location and site of origin. The findings, published in eLife with former KI postdoc Alex Muir as co-senior author, suggest that model cancer cells grown in media that more closely replicate physiological nutrient levels might better predict which genes are essential to tumor metabolism. The research was funded in part by the MIT Center for Precision Cancer Medicine and the Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology. Read more.