Metabolic profiling using stable-isotope tracer technology enables the measurement of substrate redistribution within major metabolic pathways in living cells. This technique has demonstrated that transformed human cells exhibit profound metabolic shifts and that some anti-cancer drugs produce their effects by forcing the reversion of these metabolic changes. By revealing tumor-specific metabolic shifts in tumor cells, metabolic profiling enables drug developers to identify the metabolic steps that control cell proliferation, thus aiding the identification of new anti-cancer targets and screening of lead compounds for anti-proliferative metabolic effects.
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