R. Lamb , B. Ozsvari, C.L. Lisanti et al.
It is becoming increasingly clear that cancer stem cells play an important role in tumorigenesis. A key observation is that these cells are highly dependent on mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. In this paper, the authors raise the fact that a number of FDA-approved drugs inhibit mitochondrial biogenesis as one of their side-effects. This is because many antibiotics target bacterial ribosomes, which share many similarities with the mitochondrial ribosome. They show that a number of existing antibiotics can reduce tumour-sphere number in a dose-dependent manner: for instance Doxycycline can eradicate two breast cancer cell lines at doses as low as 50um. This approach is perhaps a step towards mutation-independent cancer therapy.