Mitochondria and Cancer

Zacharey Meeks


Mitochondria are the organelles of the cell that produce energy by cellular respiration and regulate cell death. This process uses steps such as glycolysis and the Krebs cycle to turn sugar molecules into chemical energy stored in the bonds of the molecules. Cancer cells show a decrease in sugar breakdown and perform glycolysis but do not perform the cycle of cellular respiration. Cancer cells ability to suppress further breakdown of sugar molecules by suppressing the function of mitochondria allow the cancer cells to reproduce uncontrollably. It was thought that cancer cells permanently damage mitochondria leaving them unable to function. Studies suggest that Dichloroacetate (DCA), an odorless, colorless, small molecule, causes regression of cancer cells. Researchers believe the use of this molecule in combination with other treatments will lead to curing several cancers4.

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