EURONEWS – The early-stage research – which saw 99 per cent of melanoma cells eradicated in a lab – could provide new cancer treatment options, experts say.
Scientists in the US have found a way to destroy cancer cells by stimulating molecules with near-infrared light and causing them to vibrate.
The researchers found that the method was 99 per cent effective against lab cultures of human melanoma cells.
Their method involves getting a small dye molecule used in medical imaging to vibrate by stimulating it with near-infrared light.
This woman’s bowel cancer disappeared after taking new drug for 6 months
It forms something called a plasmon, which is the rapid oscillation of electrons in the molecule back and forth similar to the waves in the sea. This causes the membrane of the cancerous cells to rupture.
The findings were published in December in Nature Chemistry.
“The vibration activated by near-infrared light means that anything surrounded by the molecule will be destroyed, in this case, the cancer cell,” Ciceron Ayala-Orozco, a research scientist at Rice University in the US and lead author of the study, told Euronews Next.
While so far, the researchers have found the “molecular jackhammer” method to be effective in the laboratory and on mice, the “challenge is to translate this” into human treatment options, he added. But this will likely take a long time.
He hopes that instead of being 15 to 20 years away from clinical application, they could prove the molecular jackhammers’ safety more quickly.
“A similar class of molecules are already being used clinically,” which Ayala-Orozco hopes could “accelerate the clinical translation” of the research.
The main obstacles to applying this type of method on humans are potential “side effects and toxicity,” he added.
Dr Nisharnthi Duggan, the Science Engagement Manager at Cancer Research UK, who was not involved in the study, said that “a major challenge in cancer research is designing medicines that cancer cells won’t become resistant to” …