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.

Related Articles


"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 March 6, 2015 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 March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Suicide Rates Up For Young Women In U.S.

Suicide Rates Up For Young Women In U.S.

Newsy (Mar. 6, 2015) According to a report from the CDC, suicide rates among young women increased from 1994 to 2012 while rates among young men have decreased. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Bupa is hoping to expand in India&apos;s fast-growing health insurance market, once a rule change on foreign investment is implemented. The British private healthcare group&apos;s CEO tells Grace Pascoe why it&apos;s so keen on the new opportunity. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Releases Last Ebola Patient, But Threat Remains

Liberia Releases Last Ebola Patient, But Threat Remains

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) Liberia&apos;s last Ebola patient has been released, and the country hasn&apos;t recorded a new case in a week. However, fears of another outbreak still exist. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Mobile apps are turning smartphones into a personal doctors, with users able to measure heart rate, blood pressure and even blood sugar. But will it change our behaviour? Ivor Bennett reports from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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