New reports said scientists in Scotland have successfully tested a new drug that can destroy cancer cells while leaving surrounding healthy tissues unaffected.
According to Scottish broadsheet, The Herald, researchers at the University of Edinburgh mixed a tiny “cancer-killing molecule,” called SeNBD, with a chemical food compound and “tricked” cancer cells into engulfing it – and the combination has been termed as “Trojan Horse.”
The report noted that the scientists used zebrafish and human cells for the experiment and the study has already been peer reviewed although more research needs to be done to see if the breakthrough is indeed safe to treat early-stages of cancer including drug-resistant bacteria.
The Herald wrote: “Cancerous cells are ‘greedy’ and need to consume high amounts of food for energy and they typically ingest more than healthy cells, said the University of Edinburgh. By coupling SeNBD with a chemical food compound it becomes the ‘ideal prey for harmful cells’ which ingest it ‘without being alerted to its toxic nature.’”
It added that the SeNBD molecule is a light-activated “photosensitizer,” which means “it kills cells when activated by light.”
Furthermore, this would allow surgeons to “use the combo to target cancer cells” only while leaving other healthy cells intact.
“Switching on the drug with light means a surgeon could decide exactly where they want the drug to be active, avoiding the chances of attacking healthy tissue and preventing the kind of side effects caused by other drugs,” the researchers at the University of Edinburgh said in a press release.
“Coupling the drug with a food compound is key to its success. For cells to survive, they must consume chemical components of food – known as metabolites – such as sugars and amino acids for energy.”