It is quite common for doctors to use hormone therapy to treat prostate cancer. They usually resort to this treatment if cancer spreads to other regions of the body. It can be very effective indeed, however, there are cases in which patients become resistant to the therapy.
The disease may spread and grow more aggressively because of said resistance. Which concurrently may increase the likelihood of a fatal development of prostate cancer. If prostate cancer spreads to other parts of the body, particularly vital organs, the situation gets very dangerous.
Although hormone therapy can be very effective for prostate cancer treatment, it has also shown that when it’s ineffective it can be dangerous to patients. Fortunately, new research concerning the functions of mitochondria in cells seems to offer an alternative for when this does happen. Or to even avoid it altogether.
Mitochondria, what are they and how are they relevant to prostate cancer?
Mitochondria are part of cells, they turn food into fuel and energy for cells. They are vital to a cell’s health, growth and survival. It so happens that they also play a pivotal role in the development of cancerous cells.
Essentially, tumor cells use mitochondria to monitor and manage their growth. They also use them to detect stressors that could be harmful to tumor cells. This has been another crucial aspect of this new research, it has revealed in part why tumor cells are almost impervious to stress. Targeting mitochondria in new therapies could be a solution to the disadvantages of hormone therapy.
If you are interested in checking out the research yourself, check the published journal here on Molecular Cancer Research by M. Cecilia Caino. It’s very promising and especially relevant to new treatments for prostate cancer.
You might ask how mitochondria controlling a cancer cell’s growth might benefit them. One thing we know about cancer cells is that they grow at an alarmingly fast rate. However, if they grow too fast they run out of food and struggle to adapt to new environments. That’s where mitochondria come in, cancer cells use them to slow down their growth, when necessary, and better make use of their environment.
How would targeting mitochondria compare to hormone therapy?
One advantage would be that there are specific proteins that mitochondria produce more of when their cells become cancerous. These are MIRO2 proteins, and cancerous cells are rife with them. They work in tandem with other proteins like GCN1 and 2. Caino’s new treatment would entail targeting these proteins, so as to eliminate their auto-growth control.
This means they would grow too fast, and if they grow too fast they can be identified as harmful. These cells would then destroy themselves keeping the surrounding tissue healthy. All in all, very promising treatment that may be less invasive than others. Not to mention, if it can be targeted so accurately it may present fewer side effects than say treatments like hormone therapy.
Check our resources section for further information. Where you can also find inspiration from success and survival stories. Or we can help you connect with a prostate cancer survivor.
If you have any questions, or just want to talk, call us at our toll-free hotline: 1(833)HEAL-MEN. You are not alone in this journey. We are here to help guide and support you through it, every step of the way.