A molecule that kills kidney cancer cells has been claimed to have been identified by scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine.
The researchers believe that any medicine made from the molecule called STF-62247 may help fight the life-threatening disease without causing any damage to the patient's kidney.
"You now have a potential means of going after a disease that's been difficult to treat," said Dr. Amato Giaccia, professor and director of radiation oncology and radiation biology at the medical school.
Describing the study in the journal Cancer Cell, Giaccia said that his lab focused on kidney cancer because there is no known cure for it short of removing a damaged kidney from a patient's body.
"There is no effective chemotherapy to treat renal cell carcinoma. Patients still succumb," said Giaccia, also a researcher at the Stanford Cancer Center.
He said that his study might pave the way for a treatment to save patients from losing one of their two kidneys.
While STF-62247 is toxic to kidney cancer, Giaccia says, it is generally harmless to most other cells in the human body.
According to him, patients treated with STF-62247 should not suffer some of chemotherapy's infamous side effects, like nausea and hair loss, because the molecule is not toxic to the entire body.
Giaccia also said that clinical trials could begin "in the next couple years".