Researchers Discover Novel Mechanism Linking Changes in Mitochondria to Cancer Cell Death

To stop the spread of cancer, cancer cells must die. Unfortunately, many types of cancer cells seem to use innate mechanisms that block cancer cell death, therefore allowing the cancer to metastasize. While seeking to further understand cancer cell death, Notre Dame researchers discovered that the activation of a specific enzyme may help suppress the spread of tumors.

The findings, published in Nature Cell Biology, demonstrate that the enzyme RIPK1 decreases the number of mitochondria in a cell. This loss of mitochondria leads to oxidative stress that can potentially kill cancer cells, though researchers speculate the cancer cells could find ways to shut down this effect.

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March 16, 2018

Health and SocietyScience and TechnologyBiological SciencesCollege of ScienceDiseaseHarper Cancer Research InstituteMedicineZachary Schafer