Zapping Cancer Tumours Triggers ‘Cell Suicide’
Injecting cancerous tumours with a chemical then zapping them with a flash of light can cause them to commit “cell suicide”, scientists have found.
A new technique can kill the cells in under two hours, and clinical trials with laboratory mice have a 95% success rate.
The technique is called “photodynamic therapy” and has been shown to cause cancer cells to effectively self-destruct in fewer than 120 minutes.
The “cell suicide” happens because they became too acidic to survive after being injected with chemical compound nitrobenzaldehyde. The flash of light kick-starts the chemical reaction.
Professor Matthew Gdovin said: “There are many different types of cancers.
“The one thing they have in common is their susceptibility to this induced cell suicide.
“We are thinking outside the box and finding a way to do what for many is simply impossible.”
A single treatment doubled the chances of survival in the mice, even showing good results against the aggressive triple negative breast cancer.
The non-invasive technique could be ideal for treating hard-to-reach cancers such as those on the brain stem or spine.
The study, by a team at the University of Texas at San Antonio, could open the door for the treatment to be developed for humans.