Rewiring Tumor Mitochondria Enhances Immune System’s Ability to Recognize and Fight Cancer

Immunotherapy, which uses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, is an effective treatment option, yet many patients do not respond to it. Thus, cancer researchers are seeking new ways to optimize immunotherapy so that it is more effective for more people. Now, Salk Institute scientists and coleagues have found that manipulating an early step in energy production in mitochondria—the cell’s powerhouses—reduces melanoma tumor growth and enhances the immune response in mice. The study, published in Science on September 21, 2023, revealed that when electrons take one of two initial routes through mitochondria in cancer cells, genes and proteins become activated that are needed for immune cells to recognize and kill tumor cells.  The Science article is titled “Manipulating Mitochondrial Electron Flow Enhances Tumor Immunogenicity.”
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