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    Home > Biochemistry News > Biotechnology News > Refresh cognition... Cancer cells will actively attack immune cells and steal each other’s mitochondria

    Refresh cognition... Cancer cells will actively attack immune cells and steal each other’s mitochondria

    • Last Update: 2021-12-01
    • Source: Internet
    • Author: User
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    We may often see some studies claiming how cancer cells cleverly evade the pursuit of immune cells, and eventually become latent and grow slowly
    But is such a cunning cancer cell willing to remain so forbearing?

    A study in "Nature-Nanotechnology" completely overturned some previous assumptions.
    Cancer cells will not only hide, but also actively invade immune cells.
    It is not as "counseling" as we imagined, but this behavior is too hidden.
    It was never discovered


    The new study found that when cancer cells and immune cells coexist, the former will stretch out extremely tiny "tentacles" to steal substances necessary for survival from neighbors

    Under normal circumstances, certain cells do grow nanotubes that look like tentacles.
    These tubes can be used for material transport between two adjacent cells, including mitochondria that can produce energy


    Cancer cells have also learned this method in the evolution process, but instead of exchanging amicably, they directly steal each other's mitochondria for their own use

    In the new study, Dr.
    Shiladitya Sengupta of Brigham and Women's Hospital and his colleagues placed breast cancer cells and immune cells obtained from mice in a petri dish.
    These cells were placed on the field 16 hours later.
    Observed under the emission scanning electron microscope, it was found that, on average, every cancer cell would form a nanotube with T cells, and the width of each nanotube was about 50-2000 nanometers


    ▲There is a nano-scale pipeline between cancer cells and T cells (picture source: reference [3])

    And in some cases, several nanotubes will converge to form a thicker channel

    Do these nanotubes have similar functions to those of normal cells? The researchers decided to use fluorescent staining to label the chromosomes in T cells for real-time tracking
    This time, under the microscope, they saw some green fluorescent particles appearing in the nanotubes.
    These are the mitochondria of T cells, which are constantly being pulled into their bodies by cancer cells


    In addition, cancer cells not only have to grab the mitochondria of T cells, but also consume the surrounding oxygen frantically
    Compared with the case where the cells are separated from each other, if nanotubes are present, the oxygen consumption of cancer cells will double and the growth rate will become faster

    This may indicate that the stolen mitochondria may continue to provide energy for the growth of cancer cells


    ▲Nanotubes can help cancer cells acquire mitochondria (picture source: reference [3])

    Here, cancer cells take mitochondria to live up to the wind, and T cells that have lost mitochondria become weak.
    Their consumption of oxygen decreases and they no longer grow

    This is a good way to kill two birds with one stone for cancer cells.
    It can strengthen one's own power and weaken the enemy's power


    In addition to mouse cancer cells, human thymic cancer and breast cancer cells can also produce nanotubes to steal mitochondria when co-cultured with T cells, indicating that this method is a common mechanism for cancer cell survival

    ▲Prevent the formation of nanotubes or become a new anti-cancer direction (picture source: reference [2], credit: Tanmoy Saha)

    Fortunately, this process can be completely prevented
    The researchers injected an inhibitor that prevents the formation of nanotubes into mice with tumors.
    As a result, the size of the tumors in the mice was reduced to half of the original size.
    When used with immune checkpoint inhibitors, the number of T cells infiltrated in the tumors Also significantly improved


    Note: The original text has been deleted

    Reference materials:

    [1] Cancer cells use'tiny tentacles' to suppress the immune system.
    Retrieved Nov 19th, 2021 from https://phys.

    [2] Cancer cells steal energy-generating parts from immune cells.
    Retrieved Nov 19th, 2021 from https:// cells/#ixzz7Ce02jx9m

    [3] Hae Jang, Intercellular nanotubes mediate mitochondrial trafficking between cancer and immune cells, Nature Nanotechnology (2021).
    DOI: 10.

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