Exposing liver cancer

At the microscope 170 cropped9th January 2019

Dr Tom Bird has been working with the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Statistics to develop better ways of detecting early forms of liver cancer. Click here to read more.

Click here to read more about Tom's research group.

Improving cell culture media

7th January 2019

Beatson Institute researchers led by Dr Saverio Tardito have been investigating the difference that using traditional media vs a homemade one that more closely mimics physiological conditions can make to the outcome of experiments. The work has been published in Science Advances: Improving the metabolic fidelity of cancer models with a physiological cell culture medium. The research was covered in an excellent article written by Ed Yong at The Atlantic: Scientists Have Been Studying Cancers in a Very Strange Way for Decades

Click here to read more about Saverio's research group.

How the gut influences metabolism in response to food

27th November 2018

Researchers at the Institute of Cancer Sciences, University of Glasgow have published a study looking at how the intestine coordinates a multi-organ programme which is essential to achieve a balance between the use and storing of body energy in response to food.

When nutrients such as sugars and fats are absorbed in the gut, any excess nutrients are stored away in the body as energy reserves, for example, in adipose (fat) tissue and the liver. These energy reserves can then be used as backup when food is scarce, and the body has mechanisms for mobilising these backup nutrients. However, in order for the body to use these resources efficiently, it’s important for it to be able to recognise when these reserves should be used and when they shouldn’t.

In this study in fruit flies, published in Cell Metabolism, researchers found that when there is food in the gut, the gut releases a hormone that acts on neurons in the central nervous system (CNS), which in turn tunes down signals to the energy reserve tissues to indicate such reserves are not needed. In contrast, under starvation conditions, the gut does not release this hormone, which then allows the CNS to turn up the activity of these neurons to allow mobilisation of energy reserves.

Therefore, flies lacking the nutrient-sensing hormone released by the gut showed uncontrolled use of energy reserves, and as a result these flies are not able to build up sufficient reserves to allow them to cope with periods of hunger. Interestingly, the human version of one of the proteins involved in this pathway has previously been associated with obesity, through an unknown mechanism.

These findings highlight the long-reaching impact of intestinal function to organismal health and disease. Important implications of this work include intestinal pathologies such as colorectal cancer, as it may explain the origin and mechanisms of metabolic disorders and disruption of multiple CNS-controlled body functions, including sleep and feeding, often observed in cancer patients.

Reference
Scopelliti A, Bauer C, Yu Y, Zhang T, Kruspig B, Murphy DJ, Vidal M, Maddocks ODK, Cordero JB. A Neuronal Relay Mediates a Nutrient Responsive Gut/Fat Body Axis Regulating Energy Homeostasis in Adult Drosophila. Cell Metab 2018. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2018.09.021

Mannose slows tumour growth and can improve cancer treatment

22nd November 2018

Beatson Institute scientists have found that mannose sugar, a nutritional supplement, can both slow tumour growth and enhance the effects of chemotherapy in mice with multiple types of cancer. Click here to read the press release from CRUK.

The results of the study, which was led by Professor Kevin Ryan, have been published in Nature

The study has been covered by the BBC and other news outlets. Click here to read the BBC articles: Simple sugar supplement 'can slow cancer growth' and Sugary supplement mannose could help fight cancer

Click here to read more about Professor Ryan's research group.

Dr Tom Bird on cancer and obesity

20th November 2018

Dr Tom Bird, who leads the Liver Disease and Regeneration group here at the Beatson Institute, has written an article on obesity and cancer - and what the Scottish Government can do to help. Click here to read the article, published today in The Herald : Agenda: For the sake of our children, we must restrict the junk food multi-buy offers

Tom Bird microscope

Dr Seth Coffelt awarded BACR-AstraZeneca Young Scientist Frank Rose Award 2018

12th November 2018

Many congratulations to Seth, who has been awarded the BACR-AstraZeneca Young Scientist Frank Rose Award 2018! The purpose of the award is to recognise and reward the achievements of an individual whose work has made significant contributions to translational cancer research. To mark the award, Seth gave a talk at the NCRI conference, which was held in Glasgow earlier this month. Click here to visit Seth's research page.

CoffeltS

Research

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