Medicinal Chemistry Targeting Mitochondria: From New Vehicles and Pharmacophore Groups to Old Drugs with Mitochondrial Activity

Catalan, Mabel; Olmedo, Ivonne; Faundez, Jennifer; Jara, Jose A.


Interest in tumor cell mitochondria as a pharmacological target has been rekindled in recent years. This attention is due in part to new publications documenting heterogenous characteristics of solid tumors, including anoxic and hypoxic zones that foster cellular populations with differentiating metabolic characteristics. These populations include tumor-initiating or cancer stem cells, which have a strong capacity to adapt to reduced oxygen availability, switching rapidly between glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation as sources of energy and metabolites. Additionally, this cell subpopulation shows high chemo- and radioresistance and a high capacity for tumor repopulation. Interestingly, it has been shown that inhibiting mitochondrial function in tumor cells affects glycolysis pathways, cell bioenergy, and cell viability. Therefore, mitochondrial inhibition may be a viable strategy for eradicating cancer stem cells. In this context, medicinal chemistry research over the last decade has synthesized and characterized "vehicles" capable of transporting novel or existing pharmacophores to mitochondrial tumor cells, based on mechanisms that exploit the physicochemical properties of the vehicles and the inherent properties of the mitochondria. The pharmacophores, some of which have been isolated from plants and others, which were synthesized in the lab, are diverse in chemical nature. Some of these molecules are active, while others are prodrugs that have been evaluated alone or linked to mitochondria-targeted agents. Finally, researchers have recently described drugs with well-proven safety and efficacy that may exert a mitochondria-specific inhibitory effect in tumor cells through noncanonical mechanisms. The effectiveness of these molecules may be improved by linking them to mitochondrial carrier molecules. These promising pharmacological agents should be evaluated alone and in combination with classic chemotherapeutic drugs in clinical studies.

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Título según WOS: ID WOS:000594253600001 Not found in local WOS DB
Volumen: 21
Número: 22
Editorial: MDPI
Fecha de publicación: 2020


Notas: ISI