Oncotarget Published Study Reveals What Antibiotics Do to Cancer Cells

Could cancer be treated with conventional antibiotics? In a study, published on Oncotarget, researchers introduce a new scenario to treat the disease. Together with British colleagues, and researchers from New York and Philadelphia, scientists have tested five different antibiotics on cancerous cell lines from eight different tumor types.

The five antibiotics used were Azithromycin, Doxycycline, Tigecycline, Pyrvinium Pamoate, and Chloramphenicol. Four of these antibiotics destroyed the cancer stem cells in each test. This was true for glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of a brain tumor, as well as cancers of the lung, prostate, breast, and skin. Researchers believe the reason the antibiotics may be as effective on these cells is because of the negative impact on the mitochondria. Oncotarget is also available on Dove Press.

According to the researchers, these cancerous cell components are also referred to as the power plants of cells. They supply energy needed by cancer stem cells, for example in order to grow and divide, allowing tumors to grow. One explanation is that mitochondria are derived from bacteria. Therefore, these antibiotics can be used against that bacteria. Lead researcher, Professor Michael P. Lisanti says he was aware of the impact antibiotics had on the mitochondria, and the significance for tumor growth. He believes if the connection between antibiotics and the eradication of cancer stem cells are confirmed, we could be using this strategy soon, which would make anti-cancer drugs more affordable.

Oncotarget researchers were brought together from the Manchester Cancer Research Centre, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, with funding from the University of Manchester and ERC Advanced Grant. The report was published on Oncotarget, a respected peer-reviewed online journal that focuses on Oncology topics.

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