Breakthrough in Cancer Cell Destruction Using Vibrating Molecules

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In a groundbreaking discovery, scientists in the United States have successfully destroyed 99% of melanoma cells in a lab using a novel technique involving “vibrating molecules” stimulated by near-infrared light. This early-stage research holds promising potential for new cancer treatment options, as reported in December in Nature Chemistry.

Molecular Jackhammer Method: Rupturing Cancerous Cells

The researchers employed a method that activated small dye molecules, commonly used in medical imaging, to vibrate by exposing them to near-infrared light. This process generated something called a plasmon, involving the rapid oscillation of electrons in the molecule, causing the membranes of cancerous cells to rupture. Lead author of the study, Ciceron Ayala-Orozco, described this vibration as a “molecular jackhammer,” capable of destroying anything surrounded by the molecule, particularly cancer cells.

Transitioning from Lab Success to Human Treatment

While the “molecular jackhammer” method has proven effective in lab cultures of human melanoma cells and on mice, the researchers acknowledge the challenge of translating this success into human treatment options. Ayala-Orozco expresses hope that the process of proving its safety could be expedited, considering the existence of a similar class of molecules already in clinical use. However, obstacles such as potential side effects and toxicity need to be addressed before its application on humans.

Addressing Challenges: Side Effects and Toxicity

The main obstacles to implementing this method on humans involve potential side effects and toxicity, according to Ayala-Orozco. Ensuring the safety of the “molecular jackhammer” is crucial before it can become a viable treatment option for cancer patients. While the timeline for clinical application remains uncertain, the researchers are optimistic about accelerating the translation of their findings into real-world treatments.

Implications for Future Cancer Treatment

Dr. Nisharnthi Duggan, Science Engagement Manager at Cancer Research UK, emphasizes the importance of finding treatments that cancer cells won’t develop resistance to. The study’s approach, utilizing infrared light to stimulate molecules and kill cells, presents a potential avenue for innovative cancer treatments. Although the research is in its early stages, it opens doors to exploring new ways of treating certain types of cancer, addressing a major challenge in cancer research.

SOURCE: Ref Image from Ahead Of The Herd

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