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University of Edinburgh: Drugs act as a Trojan horse to kill cancer cells
University of Edinburgh: Drugs act as a Trojan horse to kill cancer cells. A light-activated drug that enters and kills cancer and bacterial cells without damaging nearby healthy cells has been successfully tested in zebrafish and cells.
Scientists have discovered that combining this tiny anti-cancer molecule with chemical food compounds can trick cancer cells into absorbing the drug.
This molecule, called SENBD, is smaller than existing phototherapy, which means it can pass through cellular defenses more easily.
The researchers said that further tests are needed to prove whether the drug is a safe and fast way to treat early-stage cancer and drug-resistant bacteria. The research was conducted in zebrafish and human cells.
The combination of drugs and food compounds is the key to its success. For cells to survive, they must consume the chemical components of food-that is, metabolites-such as sugars and amino acids for energy.
Cancer and bacterial cells are greedy and tend to consume higher concentrations and different types of metabolites than healthy cells. Pairing senbd with metabolites makes it an ideal prey for harmful cells.
So far, most light-activated drugs are larger than metabolites, which means that cancer and bacterial cells do not recognize them as normal food.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh invented SENBD, compared it with a Trojan horse, and described its effect as a metabolic warhead.
Harmful cells ingest related drugs without noticing their toxicity.
In addition to being able to enter cells, SENBD is also a drug called a photosensitizer, which means that it can only kill cells when activated by visible light.
Light-on medicine means that the surgeon can accurately determine the active location of the medicine, avoid the chance of attacking healthy tissues, and prevent side effects caused by other anti-cancer drugs, such as hair loss.
The results of this study were published in the journal Nature Communications.
Professor Mark Vendrell of the University of Edinburgh said: “This research represents an important advance in the design of new therapies that can be simply activated by light irradiation, which is usually very safe. SENBD is the smallest light-sensitive in history. One of the agents, its use as a “Troima” opens up many new opportunities for interventional medicine that kills harmful cells without affecting the surrounding healthy tissues.
Dr. Sam Benson from the University of Edinburgh said: “Through SENBD, we can combine a lightly activating drug with the food that cancer cells and bacterial cells usually eat. This means that we can transport us directly through the front door of the cell. Instead of trying to find a way to penetrate the cell’s defenses. “
(source:internet, reference only)