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
  • 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
DEC 29, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
What Happens When You Combine Cannabis with Psychedelics?
DEC 29, 2020
What Happens When You Combine Cannabis with Psychedelics?
Despite the growing popularity of cannabis and psychedelics, there is a shortage of research on how the two interact. Be ...
JAN 13, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Could Rotten Egg Gas Reverse Alzheimer's?
JAN 13, 2021
Could Rotten Egg Gas Reverse Alzheimer's?
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have found that hydrogen sulfide, a gas that smells like rotten eggs, may prot ...
FEB 02, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Using Genetic Tools to Find Treatment Options for PTSD
FEB 02, 2021
Using Genetic Tools to Find Treatment Options for PTSD
With genome-wide association studies, researchers have been able to link small variations in the genome to a greater (or ...
FEB 18, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Inhibition of a Specific Enzyme Could be a Way to Treat Glioblastoma
FEB 18, 2021
Inhibition of a Specific Enzyme Could be a Way to Treat Glioblastoma
Researchers may have identified a new treatment target for a deadly form of brain cancer. Inhibiting an enzyme called PR ...
FEB 10, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Snail Venom Treats Malaria
FEB 10, 2021
Snail Venom Treats Malaria
In a first-of-its-kind study, scientists from Florida Atlantic University's Schmidt College of Medicine in collabora ...
APR 02, 2021
Technology
Protein Modeling of SARS-CoV-2 Provides Targets for Vaccine Development
APR 02, 2021
Protein Modeling of SARS-CoV-2 Provides Targets for Vaccine Development
Recent protein modeling of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein reveals novel areas for vaccine development. The novel SARS-CoV- ...
Loading Comments...