CECAD, Universität zu Köln

30. Oktober 2023  Köln
Foto: © Patric Fouad/CECAD

#IDIBELLseminars – Seeing is Believing: Visualising the Heterogeneous Metabolism of Breast Cancer

Peter Kreuzaler

University of Cologne



Sala de Graus, Aulari UB


Tumours undergo constant Darwinian evolution and clonal diversification, the net result of which tends to be increased aggressiveness and invasiveness. These incipient clones can differ significantly in their metabolic needs, however the precise analysis thereof poses significant challenges due to the ephemeral nature of many metabolites and the fact that analysis is usually carried out in bulk. Using a suit of Mass Spectrometric Imaging techniques, we identify pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) as a key metabolite required for tumour progression mediated by the oncogene Myc. Areas of high Myc expression showed increased pantothenic acid uptake, resulting in higher levels of CoA and increased Krebs cycle activity. Importantly, its deprivation reversed many of the metabolic changes mediated by Myc, and reduced tumour growth in both murine tumours as well as patient derived xenografts.

Hosted by Andrés Méndez Lucas – Nutrition, metabolism and Gene Therapy group


Peter Kreuzaler received his degree in biochemistry from the Free University in Berlin. He was then awarded a scholarship to study for a PhD in the laboratory of Prof. Christine Watson at the University of Cambridge, where he discovered a novel type of physiological cell death. On the back of this work, Peter was elected a Junior Research Fellow at Trinity College Cambridge, and spend his time as such studying clonal heterogeneity in breast cancer in the laboratory of Prof. Gerard Evan. This project sparked his interested in spatial omics and he thus joined Dr Mariia Yuneva’s team at the Francis Crick Institute as part of the CRUK Grand Challenge Rosetta team. Here he established several techniques in the field of Mass Spec imaging, and found a link between cancer progression and the need for Vitamin B5 uptake. Since August 2023 Peter runs his own research group as an independent group leader at CECAD in Cologne studying the organisation of (patho)physiological tissue niches.

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