FY26 is able to shut down a cancer cell by exploiting weaknesses inherent in their energy generation.
The new drug works by forcing cancer cells to use their mitochondria, the ‘power house’ of a cell, to generate the energy necessary to function. Whilst healthy cells use mitochondria to generate energy, cancer cells contain defective mitochondria which are incapable of sustaining the cell’s energy requirements.
In the absence of FY26, cancer cells switch from using their defective mitochondria to using metabolic activity in their cytoplasm to generate energy. By stopping this switch of energy source, the drug causes the cancer cell to die.
The researchers argue that the drug could be cheaper to produce, less harmful to healthy cells than existing treatments and has been shown to be active against cancer cells which have become resistant to platinum-based drugs.