July 19, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Scientists claim to have found a 99% effective way to destroy cancer cells

Researchers estimate the effectiveness of a new method of fighting cancer at 99%; it uses molecules of the synthetic dye aminocyanine*.

The first conclusions of the study look optimistic. Scientists, tells Science Alert, stimulated its molecules with near-infrared light and made it vibrate synchronously. And this was enough to rupture the membranes of cancer cells. Discovery results published in the journal Nature Chemistry.

The innovative approach, says a research team from Rice University and the University of Texas, is significantly more effective than previous developments. James Tour of Rice University explains:

“This is a whole new generation of molecular machines that we call molecular jackhammers. They move more than a million times faster than the previous Feringa-type engines, and they can be activated by near-infrared light rather than visible light.”

This is important because using near-infrared light allows scientists to penetrate deeper into the body. In this way, bone and organ cancers can potentially be treated without surgery, which is currently required to get to the tumor.

In tests on cultured cancer cells grown in the laboratory, the molecular jackhammer technique was shown to destroy 99% of the cells. The new approach was also tested on mice with melanoma. In half of the animals, cancer cells completely disappeared.

The chemical properties and structure of aminocyanine molecules show that they are perfectly synchronized with the required stimulus, such as near-infrared light. When moving, electrons inside molecules form so-called plasmons – collectively vibrating “entities” that control the movement of the entire molecule. “We have found another explanation for how these molecules might work,” the researchers say. Cicero Ayala-Orozco of Rice University explains:

“This is the first time that a molecular plasmon has been used in a way that wakes up the entire molecule and actually creates a mechanical action that is used to achieve a specific goal – in this case, rupturing the membrane of cancer cells.”

At the same time, scientists call it a simple biomechanical technique that would be difficult for cancer cells to develop a blockade against. Scientists consider the initial findings of the study to be very promising.

*Typically, aminocyanine is used in bioimaging as a synthetic dye to detect cancer cells. However, in a new study, scientists take it a step further by using aminocyanine molecules to create effective mechanical action at the molecular level.

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