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Caffeine-based gold compounds are potential tools in fight against cancer

Date:
February 26, 2014
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
The side effects of ingesting too much caffeine -- restlessness, increased heart rate, having trouble sleeping -- are well-known, but recent research has shown that the stimulant also has a good side. It can kill cancer cells. Now, researchers report that combining a caffeine-based compound with a small amount of gold could someday be used as an anti-cancer agent.
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The side effects of ingesting too much caffeine -- restlessness, increased heart rate, having trouble sleeping -- are well known, but recent research has shown that the stimulant also has a good side. It can kill cancer cells. Now, researchers report in the ACS journal Inorganic Chemistry that combining a caffeine-based compound with a small amount of gold could someday be used as an anticancer agent.

Angela Casini, Michel Picquet and colleagues note that caffeine and certain caffeine-based compounds have recently been in the spotlight as possible anticancer treatments. But drinking gallons of coffee, sodas and energy drinks isn't the solution. And the regular caffeine in these drinks would start to have negative effects on healthy cells, too, at the levels necessary to kill cancerous ones. Gold also can wipe out cancer cells, but, like caffeine, it can harm healthy cells. So, the research team put the two together into certain configurations to see whether the new caffeine-based gold compounds could selectively stop cancer cells from growing without hurting other cells.

They made a series of seven new compounds, called caffeine-based gold (I) N-heterocyclic carbenes, in the laboratory and studied them. The scientists found that, at certain concentrations, one of the compounds of the series selectively killed human ovarian cancer cells without harming healthy cells. In addition, the compound targeted a type of DNA architecture, called "G-quadruplex," that is associated with cancer.


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Benoît Bertrand, Loic Stefan, Marc Pirrotta, David Monchaud, Ewen Bodio, Philippe Richard, Pierre Le Gendre, Elena Warmerdam, Marina H. de Jager, Geny M.M. Groothuis, Michel Picquet, Angela Casini. Caffeine-Based Gold(I)N-Heterocyclic Carbenes as Possible Anticancer Agents: Synthesis and Biological Properties. Inorganic Chemistry, 2014; 53 (4): 2296 DOI: 10.1021/ic403011h

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American Chemical Society. "Caffeine-based gold compounds are potential tools in fight against cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140226101827.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2014, February 26). Caffeine-based gold compounds are potential tools in fight against cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140226101827.htm
American Chemical Society. "Caffeine-based gold compounds are potential tools in fight against cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140226101827.htm (accessed August 29, 2015).

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