A paper entitled “Plysialic acid sustains cancer cell survival and migratory capacity in a hypoxic environment” has been published by researchers at The University of Bradford and The University of Huddersfield. The study looks at Polysialic acid (a unique carbohydrate polymer expressed on the surface of neuronal cell adhesion molecules) and its association with tumour cell and adhesion in hypoxia. Their findings provide the first evidence that polySia expression sustains migratory capacity and is associated with tumour cell survival in hypoxia.
A key part of the study involved the use of a Whitley H35 Hypoxystation. The importance of using a piece of equipment such as a Whitley Hypoxystation is down to hypoxia having a profound effect on cancer cell growth as it occurs in poorly vascularised areas of tumours. Klaus Pors, Senior Lecturer In Chemical Biology, provided the quote below:
Dr Robert Falconer and colleagues are studying polysialyl transferases (polySTs), responsible for the biosynthesis of polysialic acid (polySia), as a potential antimetastatic therapeutic strategy. PolySia is a unique carbohydrate polymer capable of modulating cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion, migration, invasion and metastasis in a number of cancers. In this study we have employed Don Whitley H35 Hypoxystation to analyse how polySia sustains cancer cell survival and migratory capacity in a hypoxic environment. We believe these results contribute significantly to our understanding of how polySia supports an aggressive phenotype and further studies are underway to underpin these findings in a therapeutic context.
Furthermore, the paper also states that the “results have significant potential implications for polyST inhibition as an anti-metastatic therapeutic strategy and for targeting hypoxic cancer cells”.
The group are set to continue this line of work, using the Whitley H35 Hypoxystation. Keep an eye on the DWS blog for more articles on this.