Damaged Mitochondria Slowed the Growth of Glioblastoma

Scientists have shown that substance KHS101 slows the growth of glioblastoma cells, brain tumors, damaging their mitochondria.

The substance was successfully tested both in cell cultures and in mice, and the results suggest hope for further steps in the fight against this disease, according to an article published by Science Translational Medicine.

Multiform glioblastoma is one of the most aggressive brain tumors with an unfavorable prognosis after surgery and chemotherapy. Even after all the measures taken, the five-year survival rate is less than five percent. It has already been shown that substance KHS101 promotes differentiation of nerve cells in the hippocampus. But now it has been found to have its cytotoxic activity on the glioblastoma cell lines taken from patients.

This substance acts on the mitochondria, or rather on the mitochondrial chaperone of the heat shock protein HSPD1, and disrupts their normal functioning. Accordingly, in the energy deficit in the cell, metabolism is broken and it dies. Scientists compared how this substance will affect the cell lines obtained from different patients. After all, the mutations that accumulate inside tumor cells differ between patients and can affect susceptibility to a particular drug. But it turned out that all tested variants of glioblastoma subtypes reacted equally to KHS101. The authors of the study admit that they themselves were surprised by the results obtained. In the best case, they hoped to observe a slowdown in cell growth, and saw their death.

The results obtained on cell cultures were encouraging, but it was necessary to test the ability of KHS101 to overcome the blood-brain barrier. Therefore, scientists conducted tests on mice, transplanting glioblastoma cells from humans. The mice were then divided into two groups: one was given KHS101 and the other was given a placebo. The tests were successful – the tumor growth in the test group decreased by almost 50 percent compared to the control one. On the non-tumor cells this substance had no effect and no negative effects were found.

The authors acknowledge that most likely the substance KHS101 is not yet ready for clinical trials and requires its chemical and pharmacological optimization. But they hope that the results of their work will help in the further steps in the fight against glioblastoma. And future studies of the properties of KHS101 will probably allow finding substances working in a similar mechanism to apply them to other brain malignant tumors.

Studies are also conducted in the study of how healthy neural tissue is restored upon damage. Not so long ago it was discovered that in this case astrocytes produce and transmit to the neurons new mitochondria.

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