Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cancer cells ’’commit suicide’’

30.09.2003


Catalysts which cause cancer cells to ’’commit suicide’’ have been developed in the laboratory by West Country scientists.



The research groups of Dr Claus Jacob, of Exeter University and Dr Nicholas Gutowski at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, with support from the Peninsula Medical School, are investigating the anti-cancer effects of biocatalysts that mimic the activity of the human selenium enzyme, glutathione peroxidase. Their work opens up a very promising new direction for anti-cancer research, but both stress that any potential treatment for sufferers is still many years away.

Dr Jacob, of the University’’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, explained: ’’The catalysts work by initiating reactions inside the cancer cell that cause it to destroy itself. In effect, the cancer commits
suicide. One of the benefits of this approach is that the drugs target only the diseased cells.


The research opens up the possibility in the future of an entirely new way of treating cancer that has two advantages over conventional treatments:

1. The catalysts use the particular makeup of cancer cells for their activity and thus do not work in healthy cells. This means they are far more targeted than conventional drugs and could potentially avoid many of the unpleasant side effects associated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

2. Catalysts are not consumed during their activity but are recycled over and over again. This means that only minute quantities of biocatalyst are needed to kill cancer cells making them highly efficient.

Dr Jacob said: ’’Cancer therapy has long been based on highly toxic substances that randomly kill healthy and sick cells alike. This new approach might allow us to single out sick cells and kill them with a catalytic efficiency far superior to conventional radiation or chemotherapy. The experimental results obtained so far have been truly impressive but further evaluation and clinical trials are required to develop this.’’

The compounds have been developed and synthesised at the University’’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences and tested in cancer cells at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. The work has been partially funded by the Leverhulme Trust. An Exeter based company has already shown an interest in the compounds and the new method. The most active compound tested so far is a multifunctional catalyst that integrates a quinone with a chalcogen redox system in one chemically simple molecule.

Claus Jacob | alfa

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht 'Exciting' discovery on path to develop new type of vaccine to treat global viruses
18.09.2017 | University of Southampton

nachricht A new approach to high insulin levels
18.09.2017 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

Im Focus: Artificial Enzymes for Hydrogen Conversion

Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.

Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

New quantum phenomena in graphene superlattices

19.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A simple additive to improve film quality

19.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>