About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Iridium Based Anti-cancer Therapy Selectively Targets Cancer Cells

by Anjali Aryamvally on November 4, 2017 at 3:39 PM
Font : A-A+

Iridium Based Anti-cancer Therapy Selectively Targets Cancer Cells

• Cancer cells can be killed with metal from the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs, thanks to new research from University of Warwick UK and Sun-Yat Sen University in China.

• Compound based on iridium kills cancer cells by filling them with deadly version of oxygen when activated by laser light - without harming healthy tissue.

Advertisement


• Researchers have - for the first time - discovered exactly which parts of cancer cells are affected by treatment, using highly advanced technology to analyse thousands of miniscule cell proteins.

• Cancer patients are becoming increasingly resistant to traditional therapies, so it is vital to establish new pathways like this for fighting the disease.
Advertisement

Cancer cells can be targeted and destroyed using the iridium based compounds from the asteroid that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs, says study from an international collaboration between the University of Warwick and Sun Yat-Sen University in China.

Researchers from the Professor Sadler and Professor O'Connor groups in Warwick's Department of Chemistry and Professor Hui Chao's group at Sun Yat-Sen have demonstrated that iridium - the world's second densest metal - can be used to kill cancer cells by filling them with deadly version of oxygen, without harming healthy tissue.

The researchers created a compound of iridium and organic material, which can be directly targeted towards cancerous cells, transferring energy to the cells to turn the oxygen (O2) inside them into singlet oxygen, which is poisonous and kills the cell - without harming any healthy tissue.

The process is triggered by shining visible laser light through the skin onto the cancerous area - this reaches the light-reactive coating of the compound, and activates the metal to start filling the cancer with singlet oxygen.

The researchers found that after attacking a model tumour of lung cancer cells, grown by the researchers in the laboratory to form a tumour-like sphere, with red laser light (which can penetrate deeply through the skin), the activated organic-iridium compound had penetrated and infused into every layer of the tumour to kill it - demonstrating how effective and far-reaching this treatment is.

They also proved that the method is safe to healthy cells by conducting the treatment on non-cancerous tissue and finding it had no effect.

Furthermore, the researchers used state-of-the-art ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry to gain an unprecedented view of the individual proteins within the cancer cells - allowing them to determine precisely which proteins are attacked by the organic-iridium compound.

After vigorously analysing huge amounts of data - thousands of proteins from the model cancer cells, they concluded that the iridium compound had damaged the proteins for heat shock stress, and glucose metabolism, both known as key molecules in cancer.

The University of Warwick has the UK's most advanced laboratory for this type of highly advanced mass spectrometry, and is a world-class centre of analytical science.

Co-author Cookson Chiu is a postgraduate researcher in Warwick's Department of Chemistry, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Bruker. He commented:

"This project is a leap forward in understanding how these new iridium-based anti-cancer compounds are attacking cancer cells, introducing different mechanisms of action, to get around the resistance issue and tackle cancer from a different angle."

Dr Pingyu Zhang and Dr Huaiyi Huang are Royal Society Newton International Fellows in Warwick's Department of Chemistry. Dr Zhang added:

"Our innovative approach to tackle cancer involving targeting important cellular proteins can lead to novel drugs with new mechanisms of action. These are urgently needed. In addition, research links between UK and Chinese academics will not only lead to lasting collaborations, but also have potential to open up the translation of new drugs into the clinic as a UK-China joint development"

Peter O'Connor, Professor of Analytical Chemistry at Warwick, noted:

"Remarkable advances in modern mass spectrometry now allow us to analyse complex mixtures of proteins in cancer cells and pinpoint drug targets, on instruments that are sensitive enough to weigh even a single electron!"

Professor Peter Sadler is excited about where this work can lead. He said:

"The precious metal platinum is already used in more than 50% of cancer chemotherapies. The potential of other precious metals such as iridium to provide new targeted drugs which attack cancer cells in completely new ways and combat resistance, and which can be used safely with the minimum of side-effects, is now being explored.

"International collaborations can greatly hasten progress. It's certainly now time to try to make good medical use of the iridium delivered to us by an asteroid 66 million years ago!"

Photochemotherapy - using laser light to target cancer - is fast emerging as a viable, effective and non-invasive treatment. Patients are becoming increasingly resistant to traditional therapies, so it is vital to establish new pathways like this for fighting the disease.

Iridium was first discovered in 1803, and its name comes from the Latin for 'rainbow'. From the same family as platinum, it is hard, brittle, and is the world's most corrosion-resistant metal. Yellow in colour, its melting point is more than 2400° Celsius.

The metal is rare on Earth, but is abundant in meteoroids - and large amounts of iridium have been discovered in the Earth's crust from around 66 million years ago, leading to the theory that it came to this planet with an asteroid which caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Distinguished as a 'Very Important Paper', the research, 'Organo-iridium photosensitizers can induce specific oxidative attack on proteins in cancer cells' is published in the Wiley journal Angewandte Chemie.



Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Coffee May Help You Fight Endometrial Cancer
Fermented Skin Care
Television Binge-Watching May Boost the Risk of Deadly Blood Clots
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Cancer and Homeopathy Parkinsons Disease Surgical Treatment Colorectal Cancer Reiki and Pranic Healing Cancer Facts Cancer Tattoos A Body Art Common Lifestyle Habits that Cause Diseases Health Benefits of Dandelion Plant Top 10 Health Benefits of Cloves 

Recommended Reading
Immune Cell Activity Could be Limiting Cancer Immunotherapy
Treg cells within the immune system work to suppress immune function and when Tregs suppress the ......
Liquid Biopsy Predicts Immunotherapy Response in Cancer Patients
Tumors with most mutations - considered the worst tumors, are now considered the best cancers in ......
Immunotherapy Drugs Could Help Some Breast Cancer Patients
Immunotherapy drugs could help some breast cancer patients, based on the genetic changes in their .....
Cancer Immunotherapy may Get a Boost by Disabling Specific T Cells
Cancer immunotherapy drugs only work for a minority of patients, but a generic drug now used to ......
Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer is a cancer that starts in the colon or the rectum. Colorectal cancer is the third...
Common Lifestyle Habits that Cause Diseases
Cigarette smoking, unhealthy diets, overuse of alcohol, and physical inactivity are some of the most...
Health Benefits of Dandelion Plant
What is dandelion? Dandelion greens are nutrition powerhouses with a wide range of health benefits. ...
Tattoos A Body Art
Tattoos are a rage among college students who sport it for the ‘cool dude’ or ‘cool babe’ look...
Top 10 Health Benefits of Cloves
Clove doesn’t just enhance the flavor of food, but, keeps your health in check by keeping diabetes, ...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use
open close
ASK A DOCTOR ONLINE
I have read and I do accept terms of use - Telemedicine

Advantage Medindia: FREE subscription for 'Personalised Health & Wellness website with consultation' (Value Rs.300/-)