NIH Metabolomics Scientific Interest Group Webinar
June 29 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Metabolic Reprogramming of Brain Tumors
Speaker: Mioara Larion, Ph.D., Neuro-Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health
Metabolic reprogramming has emerged as one prominent hallmark of cancers. While the link between metabolism and tumor growth was established over 100 years ago by Otto Warburg with his discovery that tumor cells prefer aerobic glycolysis over oxidative phosphorylation to produce energy, the recent discovery of mutations in metabolic genes has rekindled the interest in studying the metabolism of tumors. One classical example of the link between metabolism and tumors is the discovery that a metabolic alteration is an early event in lower grade glioma formation. Understanding metabolic reprogramming in gliomas, a devastating disease with no known curable treatment, has the potential to identify targeted therapies from within metabolic pathways. Dr. Larion’s group has developed methodologies to interrogate metabolism as a snapshot of metabolites in time via untargeted metabolomics, which can be used as a discovery step. Once the altered pathway is identified, Dr. Larion’s group develops detailed 13C tracing experiments which approximate the flux within that pathway. In addition, her group developed methods to study metabolism in single organelles of live cells as well as to image certain classes of metabolites in cells and tissues. All these techniques allow Dr. Larion’s group to interrogate questions from nutrient dependencies of tumor cells to diets, to lipid alterations associated with increased survival as well as to identify biomarkers of disease progression.