AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is involved in regulating cell metabolism and is largely thought to play a suppressive role in cancer. Research by scientists at the Cincinnati Children’s Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute has now indicated that the protein may represent a key driver of aggressive brain cancers, including glioblastoma (GBM). Their studies showed that blocking AMPK reduced the growth of GBM stem cells (GSCs) transplanted into the cerebral cortex of experimental mice, leading to increased survival. The results hint at the feasibility of using AMPK inhibition as a treatment for GBM in human patients, if safe, targeted drugs can be developed.

AMPK is considered to play a suppressive role in cancer because it inhibits cancer-promoting enzymes like mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and acetyl Co-A carboxylase (ACC), says senior investigator Biplab Dasgupta, Ph.D., at the Division of Oncology at Cincinnati Chidren’s. Our study uses analysis of The …