A new study from the University of Warwick has discovered that blue light can be used to activate a highly powerful platinum-based cancer treatment.
The new light-activated platinum-based compound is up to 80 times more powerful than other platinum-based anti-cancer drugs and can use "light activation" to kill cancer cells in a much more targeted way than similar treatments.
It can be activated by normal visible blue, or even green, light. It is also stable and easy to work with, and it is water-soluble so it can simply dissolve and be flushed out of the body after use.
It was tested it on oesophageal cancer cells cultivated within lab equipment. Those tests show that once activated by blue light the compound was highly effective requiring a concentration of just 8.4 micro moles per litre to kill 50 percent of the cancer cells.
The researchers are also beginning to examine the compound's effectiveness against ovarian and liver cancer cells. Early results there are also excellent but that testing work is not yet complete.
"This compound could have a significant impact on the effectiveness of future cancer treatments. Light activation provides this compound's massive toxic power and also allows treatment to be targeted much more accurately against cancer cells," said Peter Sadler, from the Department of Chemistry from University of Warwick.
We believe that photoactivated platinum complexes will make it possible to treat cancers that have previously not reacted to chemotherapy with platinum complexes," said Sadler.
"Tumors that have developed resistance to conventional platinum drugs could respond to these complexes and with less side-effects."