Potential cancer treatment from calcium


Potential cancer treatment from calcium

KOREA – Researchers create a promising anti-cancer drug by regulating the amount of calcium in cells, thereby killing malignant tumors.

The research was conducted by experts from Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, published in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

Normally, too much calcium ions are harmful, suffocating healthy cells like mitochondria – cellular energy machines. Now, scientists have found a way to use harmful excessive flow to destroy tumors through a “calcium storm”.

The drug is made up of silica nanoparticles, which contain dyes. Tumors recognize and transport nanoparticles into target cells. Once here, the dye is activated by infrared light. This process opens up the attack in two directions.

Illustration of drugs attacking cancer cells. Photo: iStock

First, it produces a molecule called reactive oxygen species (ROS), which opens calcium channels in the cell’s outer membrane. At the same time, the nano heats up, causing the calcium storage organ inside the cell to open the floodgate, thereby destroying the tumor.

This technique is effective in laboratory research, on cultured cancer cells. Subsequent tests on mice showed that the drug remained inside the tumor. When researchers shined near-infrared light, the drug worked, causing tumors in mice to disappear after a few days.

Although much research needs to be done before testing on humans, scientists say that essentially activating ion channels could be a potential cancer treatment.

The incidence and death rates from cancer also tend to increase in most countries, especially developing countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) records nearly 20 million new cases of cancer each year and more than 10 million deaths from this disease, of which two-thirds are in developing countries.

Thuc Linh (According to NY Post, New Atlantic)

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