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Mitochondria’s Activity in Lung Tumors Could Predict Response to Treatment



UCLA CTSI News Archive

Milo Mitchell/UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center

Dr. Milica Momcilovic and David Shackelford in a UCLA lab.

Researchers at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA have identified a new biomarker that could indicate how likely someone is to respond to treatment for lung cancer. In a test using mice, the scientists found that the level of activity of the mitochondria in lung tumor cells could potentially predict who would respond favorably to a type of drug called a complex I inhibitor, which targets mitochondrial function—and that the mitochondria activity could be tracked noninvasively using a PET scan.

The study, published in Nature, was the first to use a noninvasive imaging technique to track the activity of mitochondria in lung tumors. The findings could help guide treatment decisions for people with lung cancer, and the study demonstrates that PET imaging can be used to read mitochondrial activity in lung tumors.

Read more in the UCLA press release. 

The study’s senior author is David Shackelford, associate professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the Geffen School of Medicine, a member of the Jonsson Cancer Center and former UCLA CTSI KL2 Awardee. The first author is Dr. Milica Momcilovic, a senior research scientist at the Geffen School of Medicine. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences-funded UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute.