Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Firefly Light Helps Destroy Cancer Cells; Researchers Find That The Bioluminescence Effects Of Fireflies May Kill Cancer Cells From Within

Date:
April 21, 2003
Source:
Ludwig Institute For Cancer Research
Summary:
Could the gentle firefly turn out to be a potent weapon against cancer? In a new study, researchers from London inserted the firefly gene that activates bioluminescent light into modified cancer cells, hoping to set off a chain of events that has a proven track record at fighting the disease.

London (April 15th) -- Could the gentle firefly turn out to be a potent weapon against cancer? In a new study, researchers from London inserted the firefly gene that activates bioluminescent light into modified cancer cells, hoping to set off a chain of events that has a proven track record at fighting the disease. This light source, known as Luciferin, caused the modified cancer cells to glow much like it does with the firefly. When a photosensitizing agent was added, the combination proved lethal.

"The cells produced enough light to trigger their own death," said Dr. Theodossis Theodossiou of the National Medical Laser Centre, University College London. University College London scientists and colleagues at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research published their results today in the journal Cancer Research.

This firefly technique (BioLuminescence Activated Destruction of cancer, or BLADe) may add a further layer of depth to photodynamic therapy, an effective treatment that uses bursts of light to attack tumors that sit near the skin's surface or on the lining of internal organs. As part of the therapy, cancer cells are treated with a photosensitizer and then exposed to lasers or another external beam. The light triggers the production of active oxygen species that can destroy cancer cells.

External light sources, however, can only pass through a small amount of tissue to get to the tumor. In an attempt to treat deeper malignancies, the BLADe team inserted the light source into the disease itself.

Cancer cells were modified to express the firefly luciferase gene and then incubated with luciferin in the lab. The cells essentially became miniature lamps, giving out light that could trigger their own destruction. After a photosensitizer was added, the cells produced toxic substances that forced them to commit suicide.

"The light is generated within the tumor cell, so there's no need for outside penetration," said study co-author John Hothersall of the Institute of Urology and Nephrology, University College London.

The researchers are pursuing efforts to one day test the firefly-inspired treatment in patients. Already, a separate team has shown that it's feasible to deliver the luciferase gene to prostate cancer cells. As a mobile light source, the firefly gene may have far-reaching applications.

"Luciferase could be transferred to primary tumors, and from there it could migrate to cancer cells that spread," said Dr. Theodossiou.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ludwig Institute For Cancer Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ludwig Institute For Cancer Research. "Firefly Light Helps Destroy Cancer Cells; Researchers Find That The Bioluminescence Effects Of Fireflies May Kill Cancer Cells From Within." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 April 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/04/030421084227.htm>.
Ludwig Institute For Cancer Research. (2003, April 21). Firefly Light Helps Destroy Cancer Cells; Researchers Find That The Bioluminescence Effects Of Fireflies May Kill Cancer Cells From Within. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/04/030421084227.htm
Ludwig Institute For Cancer Research. "Firefly Light Helps Destroy Cancer Cells; Researchers Find That The Bioluminescence Effects Of Fireflies May Kill Cancer Cells From Within." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/04/030421084227.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) That little voice telling you to exercise, get in shape and get healthy is probably coming from your boss. More companies are beefing up wellness programs to try and cut down their health care costs. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) The Food and Drug Administration wants to crack down on the use of e-cigarettes, banning the sale of the product to minors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins