Lowering Glutathione To Treat Brain Cancer
Glutathione is the body’s most powerful antioxidant and detoxifier, which in high levels protects us from oxidative stress, toxins and inflammation. The flip side is when we want to kill particular cells in our body, namely cancer, it’s the high levels of glutathione the cancer cells produce which can make them difficult to kill quickly when a person has chemotherapy.
One one to shutoff glutathione production is by stopping the enzyme which performs the rate limiting step in the synthesis of glutathione. Glutamate cysteine ligase (GCL), also known as gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase, combines the amio acids Cysteine and Glutatamine together. Finally glutathione synthetase adds on the Glycine.
Targeting this enzyme directly would slow down production in all cells, so what researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center have been aiming to achieve is only distrupting the enzyme in cancerous cells. This way only the cancer cells would be sensitized to the toxic chemotherapy drugs. Brain cancer cells have a particularly well functioning glutathione system, so its important to be able to distrupt the homeostatis to allow the chemo drugs to do their work.
The article The role of glutathione in brain tumor drug resistance authored by Donald S. Backosa, Christopher C. Franklina, and Philip Reigan look at the roles of glutatione and the glutathione enzymes in brain tumors.