DEC 27, 2020 2:15 AM PST

Attacking Mitochondria in Tumors

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Researchers found that attacking a cell’s mitochondria can starve cancer cells. The study involves a possible therapeutic for anti-tumor activity.

"We managed to establish a potential cancer drug that targets mitochondrial function without severe side effects and without harming healthy cells," explains Nina Bonekamp, one of the lead authors of the study.

The therapeutic works by preventing the genetic material of the mitochondria, or mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), from being decoded. The mitochondria serve as the cells “powerhouse” providing necessary energy for basic tissue and organ function.

Learn more about mitochondria activity:

"Previous findings of our group have shown that rapidly proliferating cells, such as embryonic cells, are very sensitive to inhibition of mtDNA expression, whereas differentiated tissues such as skeletal muscle can tolerate this condition for a surprisingly long time. We reasoned that POLRMT as a key regulator of mtDNA expression might provide a promising target," says Nils-Göran Larsson, head of the research team.

Specifically, the compound inhibits mitochondrial RNA polymerase activity.

"Our data suggest that we basically starve cancer cells into dying without large toxic side effects, at least for a certain amount of time. This provides us with a potential window of opportunity for treatment of cancer," says Nina Bonekamp. "Another advantage of our inhibitor is that we exactly know where it binds to POLRMT and what it does to the protein. This is in contrast to some other drugs that are even in clinical use."

"Given the central role of mitochondrial metabolism within the cell, I am sure that our inhibitor of mitochondrial gene expression can be used as a tool in a variety of different areas," explains Bonekamp. "Of course, it is intriguing to further pursue its potential as an anti-cancer drug, but also as a model compound to further understand the cellular effects of mitochondrial dysfunction and mitochondrial diseases."

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
BS/MS
Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
You May Also Like
APR 15, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
First Drug for Sleep Apnea Shows Promise in Patients
APR 15, 2022
First Drug for Sleep Apnea Shows Promise in Patients
A new drug for sleep apnea could reduce breathing pauses during sleep by over 20 per hour. The corresponding study was p ...
APR 28, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
Keto Molecule Shows Promise for Treating Colorectal Cancer
APR 28, 2022
Keto Molecule Shows Promise for Treating Colorectal Cancer
A molecule produced when on low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets suppresses the growth of colorectal tumors in the lab. The ...
MAY 09, 2022
Cancer
A Gel Implant Protects from Cancer Recurrence
MAY 09, 2022
A Gel Implant Protects from Cancer Recurrence
Following a successful course of cancer treatment, a patient may enter remission. Remission, classified as either partia ...
MAY 19, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
Vaccine for Deadly Mosquito-borne Virus Shows Promising Trial Results
MAY 19, 2022
Vaccine for Deadly Mosquito-borne Virus Shows Promising Trial Results
Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV), Western equine encephalitis (WEEV), Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEEV) are ...
MAY 31, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
Computer Models Help Find Antibiotics to Fight Drug-Resistant Pathogens
MAY 31, 2022
Computer Models Help Find Antibiotics to Fight Drug-Resistant Pathogens
Antibiotics were a revolutionary tool in the fight against bacterial infections. In recent years, however, the emergence ...
JUN 02, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
NSAIDs Can Have Different, Unexpected Effects on People. Why?
JUN 02, 2022
NSAIDs Can Have Different, Unexpected Effects on People. Why?
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are among the most common types of drugs used to treat pain and inflammat ...
Loading Comments...