29 June 2016
A new non-invasive approach to killing cancer cells has shown promise as a potential means of treating inoperable or hard-to-reach tumours.
Research carried out by the University of Texas at San Antonio has demonstrated the benefits of a technique that involves injecting a chemical compound called nitrobenzaldehyde into the tumour, which then diffuses into the tissue.
A beam of light is then aimed at the tissue, causing the cells to become very acidic inside and eventually perish. Within two hours, it is estimated that up to 95 per cent of the targeted cancer cells can be killed.
The team tested this method on mice with triple-negative breast cancer, one of the most aggressive types of cancer and one of the hardest to treat. After one round of treatment in the laboratory, tumour growth was halted, thereby doubling the chances of survival.
Matthew Gdovin, an associate professor in the University of Texas at San Antonio's department of biology, said: "There are so many types of cancer for which the prognosis is very poor. We're thinking outside the box and finding a way to do what for many people is simply impossible."
Posted by Philip Briggs
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