Scientists Laboratory Cold Spring Harbor found that cells lacking tumor suppressor protein of PTEN, characteristic of many types of cancer, are particularly vulnerable to drugs that violate their mitochondria, the energy-producing.
Unlike normal cells, cells without of PTEN, are forced to keep their mitochondria in any way, said the head of the group. He and his colleagues found that when these cells are exposed to certain inhibitors of mitochondria, they consume large amounts of glucose, resulting in rapidly lose energy and die.
Some mitochondrial inhibitors, including Metformin, a widely used medication for diabetes, already evaluated in clinical trials as a treatment for cancer.
The new data, published in Cell Reports, indicate that such drugs can destroy cancer cells while leaving healthy cells intact. Scientists have developed two related compounds derived from the root of the same plant. These drugs affect the identical cells containing PTEN. One of them, Rotenone, a known inhibitor of mitochondria, and the second compound, Deguelin, works the same way.
Further experiments with Deguelinom showed that it disables mitochondrial function in cells with PTEN. Why with PTEN cells more resistant to the toxic compound?
The answer lies in how cells use glucose. Scientists have discovered that the cells do not contain of PTEN, use glucose from the environment to create an energy-rich molecule ATP, which they import into mitochondria to keep them safe. "This is the exact opposite of what should do the mitochondria - indicates Trotman, Professor. - Mitochondria must generate ATP for the rest of the cell. Cells that lack of PTEN, sugar quickly used and die. "
In any cells that are affected by mitochondrial inhibitors, run out of energy, and she dies. According to Trotman, cells that do not contain of PTEN, are much faster. This is crucial for the application of mitochondrial inhibitors for cancer patients when their blood sugar level is low. Although contrary to the way the drug Metformin and associated are currently being tested in cancer, because diabetes therapy requires immediate medication immediately after a meal.