An analysis of how Q-tRNA influences breast cancer growth and metastasis

Key Information

Cancer type: 
Breast
Research Institution: 
Trinity
Grant Amount: 
€116,950
Start date: 
October 1, 2011
End date: 
September 30, 2014

Scientific Project Abstract

Breast cancer cells have a sweet tooth—they love sugar. But why? Although sugar contains lots of energy that's not the reason' cancer cells mostly use the sugar to grow much faster than other cells. Another food that breast cancer cells like is glutamine. Many scientists have shown that cancer cells do not have something called Q-tRNA. My research will examine why breast cancer cells eat more sugar and glutamine when they have no Q-tRNA. We think that when cancer cells have no Q-tRNA they can also move around the body much more easily. This is known as metastasis and it is the main reason why cancer is so deadly. By understanding what Q-tRNA is doing we hope to stop breast cancer cells from getting sugar and glutamine, thereby making them hungry and weak. In this way, cancer cells will be easier to kill by anti-cancer drugs.

For the non-scientist

One-line description: 
Increasing the effectiveness of breast cancer treatment by modifying cancer cell metabolism
What this project involves: 

This project will examine a molecula called Q-tRNA and its role in the development and progression of breast cancer. Numerous studies have shown that Q-tRNA is progressively lost during cancer development and that when cancer cells have lost this molecule, they are capable of moving around the body much more easily. This study will specifically focus on the link between sugar and glutamine metabolism and Q-tRNA in breast cancer cells.