Dr. Jiang in the Sloan Kettering Institute has recently published a paper in Proceedings in the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) showing that inducing ferroptosis (death by iron) by blocking the PI3K-AKT-mTOR metabolic pathway can kill cancer cells. Here’s the rub: cancers with a mutated version of this pathway are among the most difficult to treat. There are many reasons why this process is effective, namely that cancer cells have higher metabolic demands because they reproduce so quickly. Typically, the mutated PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway increases protein activity to produce more lipids, which protect cells from oxidative stress, but blocking the pathway opens up this vulnerability again. In fact, some of these cancers are actually MORE vulnerable to ferroptosis. Another potential Achilles heel in this veritable hydra of diseases.
Here’s a link for anyone who’s interested in reading more details: https://www.mskcc.org/news/more-evidence-death-iron-could-be-promising-avenue-cancer-treatment