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 How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism
19.01.2018 | Weill Cornell Medicine

nachricht Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center

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: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Method uses DNA, nanoparticles and lithography to make optically active structures

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

More genes are active in high-performance maize

19.01.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>