Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common childhood cancer in the U.S. Looking for new ways to treat a subtype of this disease that affects T cells (T-ALL), Adolfo Ferrando, PhD, and colleagues investigated the metabolic systems used by leukemia cells to process nutrients. They found that a common genetic change in T-ALL enables leukemia cells to use a key metabolic pathway for energy and, in laboratory tests, blocking that pathway shuts down the cancer cells’ metabolism, stopping their growth. They also discovered that another genetic change can activate rescue pathways allowing the cancer cells to develop resistance to the anti-metabolic treatment and continue to thrive. By understanding the fundamentals of tumor cell energy use in this way, the researchers hope to improve treatment and overcome drug resistance in T-ALL. Dr. Ferrando is a 2011 SU2C Innovative Research Grant recipient.