Research led by Satchidananda Panda, with first author Gabriele Sulli, showed how to curb cancer cell growth by blocking the cells’ access to nutrients. The key is the circadian cycle, the intrinsic clock that exists in all living things and helps control when individual cells produce and use nutrients. The team focused on REV-ERBα and REV-ERBβ, proteins that are part of the clock’s machinery and modulate cells’ ability to synthesize fats and recycle materials. Since cancer cells rely heavily on both of these processes to grow, the researchers thought activating REV-ERBs might slow that growth. Panda’s team used two activating drugs on a variety of cancer cells, including T cell leukemia, breast, colorectal, melanoma and glioblastoma. In each line, the drugs were able to kill the cancer cells, but had no effect on healthy cells.
- Taking on the Big FiveCancer is not like other diseases. Most conditions have external causes—bacteria, viruses, injury—but cancer comes from inside us. Cells go rogue, divide recklessly, invade other tissues and spread throughout the body. They do things normal cells cannot do.
- Dan Lewis – Intense ConnectionFew trustees have had a connection as intensely personal as new Board Chair Dan Lewis, who knows firsthand that cures, indeed, begin with Salk. Thanks to the research of Salk Professor Tony Hunter, the drug Gleevec was born. And thanks to Gleevec, Lewis survived leukemia.
- Jared SmithNeuroscientist and self-described history geek Jared Smith wants to boldly go where no one has gone before. “If this were the 1400s,” asks Smith, “and we were Europeans exploring the world, where is the new world?” For Smith and colleagues in Xin Jin’s lab, the answer is simple: the brain.