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Author Topic: Could cancer drugs target mitochondria?  (Read 1416 times)

Offline thedoc

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Could cancer drugs target mitochondria?
« on: 26/07/2013 16:30:02 »
Lorianna Koenneker  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hope you are all doing well! Although I haven't listened in lately due to studying ( I am a medical student), but whenever I listen for a bit I always find new energy to get back to work. Speaking of studying, I was reviewing for my biochemistry exam and came up with an idea.

The mitochondrion is the "powerhouse" of the cell, since it produces a lot of energy that is stored in ATP.

As far as I have understood cancer cells require a lot of energy to survive.

What if a medication or virus was created that induced a mutation of the mitochondria so that the proteins (the ones used in oxidative phosphorylation) within the inner-membrane wall didn't work.

Then there wouldn't be any energy in the cell and then the cell would die?

Thank you for your time!
Sincerely,
Lorianna


What do you think?
« Last Edit: 26/07/2013 16:30:02 by _system »


 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Could cancer drugs target mitochondria?
« Reply #1 on: 12/07/2013 13:33:03 »
OK, provided that you don't similarly mutate the mitochondria of normal cells. So the question is whether cancerous cells have significantly different mitochondria.

On the other hand, if you can screw around with specific mitochondrial DNA, you can presumably do so with specific nuclear DNA and prevent the cell from replicating in the first place. 
 

Offline tangoblue

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Re: Could cancer drugs target mitochondria?
« Reply #2 on: 21/07/2013 11:50:06 »
The big problem with mutating anything in the mitochondria I suppose would be that it would mutate ALL mitochondria, not just the ones on the cancerous cells which would obviously be bad news.   
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Could cancer drugs target mitochondria?
« Reply #3 on: 22/07/2013 08:08:28 »
If one could selectively target the cancer cells, then one could trigger apoptosis in a number or ways. 

Generally targeting Mitochondria would also affect the brain and the heart, and probably would cause at minimum severe generalized lethargy.  You may look up some of the mitochondrial diseases, many of which cause neuropathy.

Some of the current chemotherapy treatments target cell reproduction.  The brain, of course, essentially doesn't have cell reproduction.  Hair, of course, is rapidly dividing, and thus often is lost, and may experience color changes post-treatment.
 

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Re: Could cancer drugs target mitochondria?
« Reply #3 on: 22/07/2013 08:08:28 »

 

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