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Genetic “whodunit” for cancer gene solved

Long thought to suppress cancer by slowing cellular metabolism, the protein complex AMPK also seems to help tumors grow in some cases, confounding researchers. The lab of Professor Reuben Shaw, including first author Lillian Eichner, showed that advanced cancers can trigger AMPK’s cellular recycling signal to cannibalize pieces of the cell, supplying large lung tumors with the nutrients they need to grow, despite being far from blood vessels. Blocking AMPK in some conditions could stop the growth of advanced tumors in the most common type of lung cancer.

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