Manipulating a mouse’s diet can stop breast cancer spreading

Anne Li                                                                                     Feburary 24th, 2018


If you’ve not heard of asparagine, you might be able to guess what this molecule is named after: the humble asparagus, because this veg – and a number of other foods – contains lots of the stuff. Asparagine is an amino acid. These are the building blocks for proteins that keep our cells working. While asparagine is an important part of many different proteins in the body, it seems that the molecule also has a less desirable role, one that scientists think could be exploited to improve cancer treatment. New research, funded by Cancer Research UK, shows that asparagine is critical for breast cancer to spread in mice, and the process might be shared in people. Blocking this amino acid in mice by cutting it out of their diet also hampered spread of the disease. The researchers, publishing their findings in Nature, think that this could open up new treatment possibilities.
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