Light powered platinum more targeted and 80 times more powerful than similar cancer treatments

Dec 21, 2007

Researchers from the Universities of Warwick, Edinburgh, Dundee and the Czech Republic’s Institute of Biophysics have discovered a new light-activated platinum-based compound that is up to 80 times more powerful than other platinum-based anti-cancer drugs and which can use “light activation” to kill cancer cells in much more targeted way than similar treatments.

The platinum-based compound known as “trans, trans, trans- [Pt(N3)2(OH)2(NH3)(py)]”, or a light activated PtIV complex, is highly stable and non-toxic if left in the dark but if light falls upon it becomes much less stable and highly toxic to cancer cells. In fact it is between 13 and 80 times more toxic (depending on how and on which cells it is used) to cancer cells than the current platinum based anti-cancer drug Cisplatin. Moreover it kills the cells by a different mechanism of action, so it can also kill cisplatin-resistant cells.

Professor Peter Sadler, Chairman of the Chemistry Department of the University of Warwick, who led the research project said:

“Light activation provides its massive toxic power and also allows treatment to be targeted much more accurately against cancer cells.”

The compound could be used in particular to treat surface cancers. Patients could be treated in a darkened environment with light directed specifically at cancer cells containing the compound activating the compound’s toxicity and killing those cells. Normal cells exposed to the compound would be protected by keeping the patient in darkness until the compound has passed through and out of the patient.

The new light activated PtIV complex is also more efficient in its toxic action on cancer cells in that, unlike other compounds currently used in photodynamic therapy, it does not require the presence of significant amounts of oxygen within a cancer cell to become toxic. Cancer cells tend to have less oxygen present than normal cells.

Although this work is in its early stages, the researches are hopeful that, in a few years time, the new platinum compound could be used in a new type of photoactivated chemotherapy for cancer.

Source: University of Warwick

Explore further: Radiation-free method to track suspicious lymph nodes in case of cancer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

FIXD tells car drivers via smartphone what is wrong

9 hours ago

A key source of anxiety while driving solo, when even a bothersome back-seat driver's comments would have made you listen: the "check engine" light is on but you do not feel, smell or see anything wrong. ...

Team pioneers strategy for creating new materials

10 hours ago

Making something new is never easy. Scientists constantly theorize about new materials, but when the material is manufactured it doesn't always work as expected. To create a new strategy for designing materials, ...

Shell files new plan to drill in Arctic

10 hours ago

Royal Dutch Shell has submitted a new plan for drilling in the Arctic offshore Alaska, more than one year after halting its program following several embarrassing mishaps.

Aging Africa

10 hours ago

In the September issue of GSA Today, Paul Bierman of the University of Vermont–Burlington and colleagues present a cosmogenic view of erosion, relief generation, and the age of faulting in southernmost Africa ...

Recommended for you

Discovery could lead to new cancer treatment

10 hours ago

A team of scientists from the University of Colorado School of Medicine has reported the breakthrough discovery of a process to expand production of stem cells used to treat cancer patients. These findings could have implications ...

Is the HPV vaccine necessary?

16 hours ago

As the school year starts in full swing many parents wonder if their child should receive the HPV vaccine, which is recommended for girls ages 11-26 and boys 11-21. There are a lot of questions and controversy around this ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

brant
not rated yet Dec 21, 2007
chemo-therapy is quackery....