Researchers the Faculty of Life Sciences at the university Bar-Ilan in Ramat Gan Israel, lead by Prof. Uri Nir, have identified an enzyme that prevents the survival and dissemination of metastatic cancer cells. Their research published their research in the journal Nature Communications.
The team found the existence of an enzyme called FerT in the energy-generating mitochondria of cancer cells which do not exist in the mitochondria of normal cells. When they targeted the enzyme in the lab, the malignant cancer cells failed to produce energy and died. The team then began searching for the enzyme elsewhere in the body and detected it in only one specific type of cells in the human body – sperm cells.
Using advanced chemical and robotic approaches, the team synthesized a synthetic compound that can be given orally or by injection. The compound then enters into the mitochondria of the malignant cancerous cells and not only inhibits its activity, but causes a complete collapse of the entire mitochondria power station resulting in cell destruction. The team hope to pursue Phase 1 clinical trials within 18 months.