Eli5: Since Mitochondria play an important role in cancer through macromolecular synthesis and energy production, why are we not targeting those energy path ways to exhaust cancer?
Because use that to effectively target cancer, you’d have to have an effective method at distinguishing individual cancer cells from healthy cells; mitochondria are present in all human cells and most eukaryotic cells. If you can do that, you might as well use the body’s own immune system to outright lyse/kill the cell instead of “poisoning” the cancer cell.
That is quite a “technically the truth” statement.
Yes mitochondria power cancer cells… Because they power ALL (eukariote) cells.
So it’s kind of like saying “food gives criminals energy to commit crimes, so bomb the supermarkets”.
The reason why cancer cells are cancerous is unrelated (to do with unrestricted cell division, disabling programmed cell death, commandeering blood flow etc.)
What role does the mitochondria play in cellular macromolecule synthesis? Unless we are calling NTPs macromolecule then I’m unfamiliar with any that the mitochondria produce. Usually macromolecule means a biopolymer, like a peptide chain, saccharide chain, a a glucoseaccharide, DNA/RNA, etc.
Unless you are talking about mtDNA and the associated replication proteins, I haven’t been taught too much about those or where those originate within the cell
People actually are! There are some recent studies showing that targeting mitochondrial gene expression machinery can be an effective cancer therapeutic in mice. It seems to be fairly specific to cancerous cells and didn’t disrupt non-cancerous cells. I think the idea being that it will be taken up preferentially by cancer cells due to their rate of growth and division.
If you’re interested in what the drug does, it specifically targets POLRMT, which is the enzyme that makes RNA from the mitochondrial genome.
Source: I’m a mitochondrial biologist
Maybe someone does, I can’t rule that out. But the first problem is that every cell uses those too.