By using the antibiotics, the scientists from Russia, Czech Republic and Spain managed not only to destroy mitochondria, the “energy plants” of the cancer cells, but also blocked their autophagy, the process of self-purification for recovery. The experts are working on finding effective antibiotics to fight cancer, including the cancer stem cells, said Alex Lyakhovich, a researcher at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biophysics.
“If we want to deprive the cancer cell not only of energy provided by mitochondria, but also of its ability to resist such deprivation, we need to select a compound that suppresses the functions of mitochondria of the cancer cell and simultaneously blocks the autophagy so that the cell cannot quickly recover its non-functioning organelles and eventually dies. By following the ideas of Dr. Michael Lisanti from Manchester University, we showed this possibility on simple models with antibiotics and inhibitors of autophagy,” said Mr. Lyakhovich.
According to Mr. Lyakhovich, the scientists together with experts of the Novosibirsk State University are currently looking for antibiotics that would have the best impact on the protein synthesis apparatus of mitochondria without affecting the similar apparatus within the cells. A Czech research team from the city of Brno is developing the programs for recognizing images of nonfunctional mitochondria so that the efficacy of antibiotics can be determined by a robot. The scientists from Barcelona are trying to use the antibiotics in order to fight the cancer stem cells, which are viewed as the ancestors of all cancer cells, and influence the cells that are resistant to chemotherapy.