Scientists discover how cancerous tumors become immune to chemotherapy

October 24, 2019  22:40

An international team of scientists has explored the mechanism by which cancerous tumors become immune to chemotherapy, reported.

According to MedicalXpress, scientists wanted to understand the mechanisms of cell resistance to a process called ferroptosis, in which cells die in the presence of iron due to the destruction of lipids in the membrane. Although many treatment-resistant and aggressive forms of cancer are susceptible to ferroptosis, they may eventually develop mechanisms to block it.

It turns out that ferroptosis depends on the oxidation of lipids in the membrane, but the molecule glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4) acts as an antioxidant, inhibiting oxidative reactions. Although drugs targeting GPX4 exist, most cancers remain resistant to chemotherapy.

Researchers have found another antioxidant molecule, FSP1, that rescues cancer cells in the absence of GPX4. They also managed to identify potential drugs that suppress its effect. So, for the operation of FSP1, the enzyme N-myristoyltransferase (NMT) is required. If NMT is blocked, antioxidant activity will cease.

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