Posted on Jan 31, 2024, 5 p.m.
Most experts suggest that people enjoy most things in moderation, that is because no matter how important something is, too much of anything can be bad for you. Building on this principal, scientists from EWHA Womens University are working to kill cancer with a new drug that causes calcium to build up which basically chokes the tumor to death.
Calcium ions are important messengers in biological cells that play a role in keeping the ever-important mitochondrial functioning, traveling in and out through channels that open/close with triggers to maintain the optimal balance. However, typically, if there is too much calcium, elements of healthy cellular composition, such as the mitochondria, can suffocate.
The paper published in Angewandte Chemie describes how the scientists developed a drug that is capable of causing a calcium storm within the cells to use this over influx on demand to ward off and destroy tumor cells, and they have shown how this can be used to fight cancer. The drug contains silica nanoparticles containing indocyanine green dye that tumors recognize and transport inside of the cells to be activated by near-infrared light once it has reached the target. But that is not the end of the process, this is a two-pronged attack, once activated inside the target cell it heats up, and this causes a calcium-storing organelle inside of the cell to open its floodgates.
The scientists report success in lab experiments on human cells in a dish using this method. The following mouse experiments showed that the injectable drug accumulated in the tumors, and when near-infrared light was shone on it the drug was activated and went to work, leaving the mice tumor-free after only a few days, with no harm to the animals.
While the researchers say that there is still plenty of work to be done before trying this anti-tumor method in human clinical trials to eradicate tumor cells in the battle against cancer, they say that the basic mechanism of activating ion channels could be investigated for a wide range of potential therapies and biomedical research.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
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T.W. at WHN
Hu, J.-J., et al. (2024). Photo-Controlled Calcium Overload from Endogenous Sources for Tumor Therapy. Angewandte Chemie. doi.org/10.1002/anie.202317578.