Acid-seeking 'warheads' promise safer, more effective cancer weapons

Feb 25, 2008

Researchers in California report development of an anti-cancer “warhead” that targets the acidic signature of tumor cells in much the same way that heat-seeking missiles seek and destroy military targets that emit heat. These acid-seeking substances are not toxic to healthy cells, and represent a new class of potentially safer, more effective anti-cancer drugs, they say. Their study is scheduled for the March 6 issue of ACS’ The Journal of Physical Chemistry B.

For years, scientists tried to develop anti-cancer drugs based on enediynes, a powerful class of natural, tumor-fighting agents derived from soil bacteria. However, as these substances kill both cancerous and healthy cells, their effectiveness as anti-cancer drugs is limited.

In the new study, Elfi Kraka and colleagues describe making unusual substances that become highly active only in the presence of low pH levels, or acidic environments. Since cancer cells have highly acidic environments in comparison to normal cells, compounds containing these substances — called dynemicin-amidines (DADs) — target and destroy tumor cells without affecting healthy cells, the researchers say. The substances represent “the design of the first nontoxic enediyne antitumor drugs based on the DAD principle,” the report states.

Source: American Chemical Society

Explore further: Computational clues into the structure of a promising energy conversion catalyst

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ear-check via phone can ease path to diagnosis

1 hour ago

Ear infections are common in babies and young children. That it is a frequent reason for young children's visit to doctors comes as no consolation for the parents of babies tugging at their ears and crying ...

Timeline of the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack

1 hour ago

It's been four weeks since hackers calling themselves Guardians of Peace began their cyberterrorism campaign against Sony Pictures Entertainment. In that time thousands of executive emails and other documents ...

Two more former Sony workers sue over data breach

1 hour ago

Two more former employees of Sony Pictures Entertainment are suing the company over the massive data breach in which their personal and financial information was stolen and posted online.

Recommended for you

A renewable bioplastic made from squid proteins

8 hours ago

In the central Northern Pacific is an area that may be the size of Texas called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Made up of tons of floating plastic debris, the patch is killing seabirds and poisoning marine ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.