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Scientists Use Old Enemy To K.O. Cancer

Date:
August 13, 2008
Source:
University of Warwick
Summary:
Chemists are pulling cancer onto a sucker punch by getting infected cells to drop their guard -- according to research published today. They are using the metal ruthenium as a catalyst to a cancer-busting reaction which calls up an old cellular enemy -- oxidants -- as an ally.

Chemists are pulling cancer onto a sucker punch by getting infected cells to drop their guard – according to new research. They are using the metal ruthenium as a catalyst to a cancer-busting reaction which calls up an old cellular enemy – oxidants – as an ally.

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Cancer adapts quickly to traditional drugs which attack infected cells directly. But the latest laboratory tests reveal a second line of defence using ruthenium as a catalyst to a reaction which stops cells developing the anti-oxidant chemical glutathione.

As the targeted cell is forced to drop its glutathione defences, the oxidant levels increase, and the cancerous cell dies.

University of Warwick Chemistry Professor Peter Sadler explained: "We know oxidants produce free radicals that damage cells. Our experiments show ruthenium produces a reaction in the cell which destroys its anti-oxidant defence glutathione – thus destroying the cancer-infected cell.

"Working with colleagues in Edinburgh University and Oncosense we've proved this could be an effective line of defence against cancer."

Scientists working on the project now hope to move the research out of the laboratory – the next stage for this work would be medical trials.

The research was funded the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and the findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - August 2008.


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The above story is based on materials provided by University of Warwick. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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University of Warwick. "Scientists Use Old Enemy To K.O. Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080812135650.htm>.
University of Warwick. (2008, August 13). Scientists Use Old Enemy To K.O. Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080812135650.htm
University of Warwick. "Scientists Use Old Enemy To K.O. Cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080812135650.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

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