A step closer has been made by researchers in the Capital to developing breakthrough cancer medications with fewer side effects than present treatments. The new invention was created by chemists at Edinburgh University. It is said to be a way of combating cancerous cells without causing the sickness, nervous system damage and hair loss which are very common side effects of current cancer therapies.
A step closer has been made by researchers in the Capital to developing breakthrough cancer medications (http://www.pharmacycenter.org/r/2006/864/) with fewer side effects than present treatments. The new invention was created by chemists at Edinburgh University. It is said to be a way of combating cancerous cells without causing the sickness, nervous system damage and hair loss which are very common side effects of current cancer therapies.
The team have created compounds which target and damage cancer cells leaving healthy tissue unharmed. The project was led by Professor Peter Sadler, of Edinburgh University’s school of chemistry. He admitted that it is too early to evaluate the importance of the results, but admitted he believed that medications made from the compounds could tackle lung, bladder, throat and skin cancers in years to come.
“Our research is now entering an exciting phase as we consider what further developments will be needed for potential clinical use,” he said. In the heart of the breakthrough lie non-toxic platinum light-sensitive compounds, that are used in a process called photo-activated chemotherapy (PACT).
Platinum anti-cancer medications are the world’s best-selling treatments but are often associated with hair loss, sickness and nervous system damage. PACT targets only malignant cells. The composites are placed on tumour cells in a dormant state and are then activated by lasers directed only at cancer cells, considerably reducing damage to neighbouring healthy tissue. Light-activated cancer therapies are commonly used, but PACT is claimed to have an advantage over other light-sensitive treatments, as it does not require oxygen to be active- that is often limited at tumour sites.
The scientists hope that these new platinum composites will cause fewer side-effects than current photo-activated medications, which can remain in the body after the therapy and leave some patients so sensitive to daylight, the therapy could even be used to kill cells which are resistant to other medications. That they are not able to leave the house for fear of being burned. According to researchers.
Prof Sadler says that this latest research is “encouraging”. He added he was hopeful that clinical trials would begin in the next 2 to 3 years. If the product is successful at the trial stage, it could take up to 10 years for it to make its way into the hands of patients. He said: “Photo-activation of these platinum complexes appears to provide a unique mechanism for killing cancer cells.
“We were surprised at how quickly these novel chemical reactions take effect, but it’s still too early to say how significant this new approach will be.”