News Releases & Research Results Suppression of the development of hepatocellular carcinoma by selective removal of damaged mitochondria: A rationale for a novel drug discovery strategy targeting dysfunctional mitochondria

News Releases & Research Results


The results of the collaborative research project conducted by Assistant Professor Yuichi Hara and Professor Keisuke Hino of the Department of Hepatology and Pancreatology, Kawasaki Medical School; Assistant Professor Izumi Yanatori of the Department of Pathology and Biological Responses, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine; Associate Professor Atsushi Tanaka of the Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Yamagata University School of Medicine; Professor John J. Lemasters of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC); and others.

The key results of research are as follows:

  • In relation to mitochondrial dysfunction involved in the progression of conditions, such as cancers, metabolic diseases including diabetes mellitus, and neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson's disease, this research group discovered the mechanism through which iron loss in the cell induces selective removal of damaged mitochondria and thereby suppresses the development of hepatocellular carcinoma for the first time.
  • Specifically, they elucidated the molecular mechanism through which iron loss in the cell induces mitophagy (selective mitochondrial autophagy) and discovered that the induction of mitophagy suppresses the development of hepatocellular carcinoma.
  • The results of research should contribute to the process of drug discovery for diseases caused by mitochondrial dysfunction (such as metabolic diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancers).

This project was conducted with support from the Research Program on Hepatitis by AMED.

The results of this research project were published in EMBO Reports on September 25.


Hara Y., et al. Iron loss triggers mitophagy through induction of mitochondrial ferritin EMBO Reports
DOI: 10.15252/embr.202050202


Last updated 09/28/20