Cancer Metabolism

Otto Warburg observed in 1924 that cancer cells have an unusual reliance on glycolysis for energy. He believed this metabolic switch to be indicative of a defect in mitochondrial oxidative metabolism. More than 90 years later, researchers still do not understand how and why cancer cells alter their metabolism or what role changes in mitochondrial energy metabolism play in the etiology of cancer or in the ability of cancer cells to escape apoptosis. Answering these questions may reveal cancer’s Achilles’ heel and lead to a cure. Our team is collaborating with Edward V. Prochownik, MD, PhD, director of Oncology Research at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, to study how the oncogenic transcription factor c-Myc drives cells toward an anabolic metabolic phenotype. This may involve changes in mitochondrial enzyme lysine acetylation as well as changes in partitioning between glucose, glutamine, and fatty acid metabolism.

Principal Investigator

Eric Goetzman, PhD