June’s pharmaceutical breakthrough: Exploring the role of the PTEN-null mutation in prostate cancer.

It’s Men’s Health Month, and today we’re sharing a recent breakthrough in the field of prostate cancer treatment.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the PTEN gene is a tumor-suppressing gene, meaning it helps control cell division. A mutation of this gene called the PTEN-null mutation essentially disables its tumor-suppressing abilities. But in a recent paper published in the journal Cell, researchers at a lab in California have discovered that cells with the PTEN-null mutation are more likely than others to be killed by the chemicals rotenone and deguelin. These two chemicals are known to inhibit the mitochondrion, which is the part of the cell where energy production takes place.

Taking these facts into account, the researchers were able to deduce that the mitochondrion is the vulnerable part of prostate cancer cells. This discovery could potentially lead to a whole new path for prostate cancer treatment.

Studies have revealed that mice with the PTEN-null mutation can be successfully treated with deguelin. Clinical trials in humans have now begun in an effort to see if this methodology could be effective in treating men with prostate cancer moving forward.

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