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Jul 1, 2019

Cancer cell’s ‘self eating’ tactic may be its weakness

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, education, food

Cancer cells use a bizarre strategy to reproduce in a tumor’s low-energy environment; they mutilate their own mitochondria! Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) also know how this occurs, offering a promising new target for pancreatic cancer therapies.

Why would a cell want to destroy its own functioning mitochondria? “It may seem pretty counterintuitive,” admits M.D.-Ph. D. student Brinda Alagesan, a member of Dr. David Tuveson’s lab at CSHL.

According to Alagesan, the easiest way to think about why may do this is to think of the mitochondria as a powerplant. “The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell,” she recites, recalling the common grade school lesson. And just like a traditional powerplant, the mitochondria create their own pollution.

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