Most of the tumor metastases are wandering tumor stem cells. British scientists have discovered a substance that selectively deprives these cells of energy, so that the cancer does not spread to other parts of the body.
The mechanism by which cancer stem cells are "smoothed out" is completely different from those used by previously used anti-cancer therapies.
New mechanism, a new opportunity
The compound studied by the University of Salford researchers is diphenylene iodide chloride.diphenyleneiodonium chloride, DPI). It consists of two benzene rings, connected by a five-membered ring with a built-in iodine atom. This relatively simple organic compound interacts with the mitochondria of tumor cells. Mitochondria are cellular organelles that are responsible for energy production, which is why they are sometimes called cell 'energy factories'.
It has been known for some time that cancer cells moving around the body have different energy needs than cells that continue to multiply in the original tumor. Most metastases are caused by cancer stem cells migrating in the body. Recently, it has been shown that it is possible to inhibit the growth of this type of stem cells by interfering with the energy creation process in their mitochondria.
Without vitamin B2, do not move
DPI depletes cancerous stem cells by causing a deficiency of vitamin B2 in them. This vitamin, also known as riboflavin, is a precursor of two important co-enzymes in the human body that take part in cells in oxidation and reduction processes. The human body needs it for the proper functioning of the nervous system, maintaining the proper functioning of the mucous membranes and the epithelium of blood vessels, airways or the digestive tract, as well as for the transformation of amino acids and fats into energy.
Probably due to other energy needs of metastatic cells, DPI is highly selectively interacting with mitochondria of stem cells of the tumor, while not attacking other cells of the body, including non-moving cancer cells. In experiments on tissue cultures, DPI was able to reduce energy production by 90% in the mitochondria of stem cancer cells.
The need for novelty
DPI is non-toxic to the majority of the body's cells, and at the same time is active against the type of cancer cells with which today's therapies cope with the worst. This relationship causes cancer stem cells to become less metabolically elastic and thus can be more easily eliminated by other anticancer therapies.
Therefore, the discovery of British scientists seems to be of great therapeutic importance. The mechanism of action of the active substance under study is completely different than the anti-cancer drugs known today. DPI could be used as a supplement to existing forms of treatment, increasing the effectiveness of therapy.
B. Ozsvari, G. Bonuccelli, R. Sanchez-Alvarez, R. Foster, F. Sotgia, M. P. Lisanti,Targeting flavin-containing enzymes eliminates cancer stem cells (CSCs), by inhibiting mitochondrial respiration: Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) in cancer therapy. Aging 9 (2017) 2610-2628