Russian scientists have found a new way to destroy cancer cells

© Depositphotos / VtanovskiРаковые cellsRussian scientists have found a new way to destroy cancer cells© Depositphotos / Vtanovski

Biologists from MSU and Sweden found that cancer cells can be made to self-destruct during division, by entering into these substances that are associated with the so-called «mitotic catastrophe», says the article, published in the journal Scientific Reports.

«If a normal cell to act small doses of radiation, it can turn into a cage in a state of mitotic catastrophe. Cell can increase its volume, and then start sharing. And, accordingly, leads to the development of tumors,» says Boris Zhivotovsky, Professor, faculty of biology, quoted in a press-service of the Russian science Foundation.

A significant portion of cancers in humans and other animals occurs because of a failure in the gene p53. He is responsible for the synthesis of a protein that monitors the integrity of genetic information and includes a self-destruct mechanism — apoptosis under severe DNA damage. Therefore, culture of cells with damaged p53 is extremely difficult to destroy due to the lack of «program of self-destruction» in their genome.

There are other mechanisms of «self-destruction» of cells, such as Antos and «mitotic catastrophe». This word biologists understand the complex process which leads to a sharp increase in the size of cells, the appearance of «extra» cores in it and its death in the moment when she begins to divide, and thus has a serious damage in the DNA.

Today scientists believe, mitotic catastrophe is one of the protective mechanisms of the organism, which kills cells before they can turn into cancerous growths and become a threat to human life or of all multicellular animals.

Zhivotovsky and his colleagues decided to find out what role you can play in mitotic catastrophe mitochondria, a kind of «power plants» of the cell. They are, as the biologists, not only produce molecules of «Energobalance» ATF, but also play an important role in apoptosis, which suggested to them the idea that they can be involved in this scenario of self-destruction of the cell.

To test this idea, the researchers grew a culture of cancer cells of the rectum and tried to induce mitotic catastrophe by means of two anti-cancer drugs, antibiotics doxorubicin and alkaloid colcemid that breaks the two key stages of the cell cycle. «The author of» the first are the microbial-Streptomyces, and the second – flowers-autumn.

Experiments have shown that the combination of these ingredients makes approximately 80% of the cancer cells to self-destruct during division, which has enabled biologists to examine what role can be played by mitochondria in this process and what changes in the cells run it.

These observations revealed some interesting things. First, the scientists found that the occurrence of mitotic catastrophe does not lead to cell death by itself – it samounichtozhitsya for the reason that it activated chain genes, linked to two other types of cell death – apoptosis and autophagy.

Second, it turned out that to run you need one simple thing – it is necessary to stop the access of oxygen to the mitochondria and get them to identify two «squirrel of death», Mcl-1 and Bcl-xL. Now Zhivotovsky and his team checked several compounds that can cause a similar reaction in cancer cells and not to cause a mass death of their healthy neighbors.

If these experiments end successfully, scientists expect that they will be able to create a new class of cancer drugs that render the patient much more gentle effect than radiation or chemotherapy.