Hyposulfataemia and tumour cell growth (2007–2009)
Sulfate is an abundant nutrient in the blood and is essential for normal growth and development. It is added to many compounds found in the body, including hormones, which usually makes them inactive and increases their excretion into the urine. We have been studying a gene, Nas1, which plays an important role in maintaining sulfate levels in the blood. Recently, we generated a mouse which lacks the Nas1 gene, and has very low blood sulfate levels. Since sulfate is required for growth, we investigated the growth of tumour cells injected into the Nas1-lacking mouse. Interestingly, these tumours cells grew much faster in the Nas1-lacking mouse when compared to mice which have normal blood sulfate levels. This finding highlights the importance of blood sulfate levels in regulating tumour growth, and suggests that individuals with a defective Nas1 gene, may be more susceptible to enhanced cancer growth. In this study, we will investigate how the tumours are growing more rapidly in the mice with low blood sulfate levels.