Home Education How tumor cells use mitochondria to continue to grow – ScienceDaily

How tumor cells use mitochondria to continue to grow – ScienceDaily

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Hormone therapy is often used to treat prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, but many patients develop resistance to hormone therapy, making their disease more aggressive and potentially fatal.

“One of the big problems we have in this area is that most prostate cancer treatments target hormones – that’s androgens,” said Cecilia Caino, Ph.D., a teacher at the University of Colorado’s Cancer Center. “But almost all patients develop resistance to these drugs, and then the disease becomes more aggressive, which begins to spread to other parts of the body. It was limited by simplicity, but now it can spread to bones, liver or lungs.” This is a really big problem, because if you start violating vital organs, the patient will eventually die. ”

In the spring of 2021, Kaino received an award for an idea from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Cancer Research Program to study the role of mitochondria – small energy factories in cells that help break down food into fuel – in metastatic prostate cancer.

In an initial study recently published in the journal Molecular studies of cancerKaino and her colleagues found that tumor cells use mitochondria to control their growth and detect stress that can destroy a tumor cell if left unchecked. In addition to the Department of Defense, the study is funded by the American Cancer Society, the Boetcher Foundation, and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

“We know that tumor cells are generally very resistant to stress; that’s what makes them so difficult to treat, ”Kaino says. “But when tumors grow too fast, they start to lack nutrients to keep building. They use this mitochondrial pathway, which we describe to slow down for a moment, adapt and expand their ability to synthesize more blocks to build cells.”

Connection for purpose

Kaino and her team also found that a mitochondrial protein called MIRO2 is overexpressed in metastatic prostate tumors. Previously finding that MIRO2 works in conjunction with two other proteins called GCN1 and GCN2 to help metastatic prostate cancer cells tolerate conditions under which normal cell growth will be prevented, Kaino now hypothesizes that targeting this protein compound may inhibit the process. which prevents tumor cells. destroying itself, expanding too fast.

“Our next step is to treat animal models that have metastases and see if we can eliminate the tumor or even prevent the occurrence of metastases,” she says. “We also learn a lot more about the complex because we want to know how it is regulated. This will help us separate patients who will benefit from the therapy from those who will not. ”

Researchers will begin treating metastases with an existing drug used to treat acute lymphocytic leukemia, but Kaino also hopes to eventually develop a drug that would prevent complex formation.

“Many times drugs work for a while and then stop working. You have to think about what you are going to do when this drug no longer works, ”she says. “Hopefully we can come up with a strategy to stop the process further downstream.”

Milestone research

Kaino is particularly excited about this study as it presents her first peer-reviewed work as a senior correspondent. It also marks 22 years of her first experience in laboratory research.

“I decided to start a new area of ​​research that does not flow directly from my graduate school,” she says. “I also decided to start my lab with a couple of graduate students and technicians, investing in their training while staying to participate in bench work. Going down this long winding road was difficult and required all the skills and strength I had. ”

Source of history:

Materials provided Anschutz Medical Campus University of Colorado. The original was written by Greg Glasgow. Note: Content can be edited by style and length.

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