According to recent study, researchers have developed a new automated method for testing hundreds of molecules at a time. This was done in order to find out which molecules block cancer cells from consuming glucose. Cancer cells use glucose to spread and grow.
Healthy cells need sugar to carry out their normal cellular functions, such as creating energy for the body. Researchers already knew that preventing cancer cells from consuming glucose will cause them to stop growing quickly. This will enable researchers to make these cells easier to treat. This was a challenge. The researchers have to develop and identify such targeted therapies that cannot interfere with the metabolism of healthy cells. But still, can prevent cancer cells from consuming glucose.
The researchers at UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center used robotics to test the samples. They tested 3,555 compounds on non-small-cell lung cancer cells. They also identified 97 molecules that inhibited these cancer cells from consuming glucose. In another study, these 97 molecules could be further tested to see which ones don’t interfere with healthy cell metabolism.
The testing of such drugs that keep cancer cells from consuming glucose is a slow process. That is because only one or two therapies are screened at a time. To change this, UCLA researchers have developed an automated technique using robotics that can test the effects of hundreds of molecules on non-small-cell lung cancer tumors at one time.The equipment in UCLA Molecular Screening Shared Resource facility is designed to test molecules against biological targets such as cancer cells. The researchers then used a special glucose analogue that mimics naturally occurring glucose and rectangular plates with 384 individual wells for the test.
UCLA researchers have developed an automated technique using robotics that can test the effects of hundreds of molecules on non-small-cell lung cancer tumors at one time.The equipment in UCLA Molecular Screening Shared Resource facility is designed to test molecules against biological targets such as cancer cells.
The researchers put non-small-cell lung cancer cells into each of the wells in the rectangular plates. They also put a different compound into each of the wells with the cancer cells. These compounds were given time to affect the cancer cells. After this, a glucose analogue was introduced into the cells, which the cells metabolized. The researchers treated the cells with a set of enzymes that use the metabolized glucose analogue to produce bio-luminescence, or a light that can be tracked. Using a plate reader that is able to track the amount of light that comes out of each well, the researchers recorded how much of the glucose molecule the tumors in each of the wells were able to metabolize.
UCLA’s new automated method will speed up how researchers test for therapies. Especially that block the metabolism of non-small-cell lung cancer tumors. In the future, this method may also be used to test for molecules that are able to inhibit the metabolism of other types of cancer cells.
-article published in ScienceDaily.