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Rare metals against cancer

Medicines containing rare metals could develop an effective treatment against various types of cancer - so claims a study conducted at the University of Warwick and the University of Leeds.

Professor Peter Sadler. Photo: University of Warwick
Professor Peter Sadler. Photo: University of Warwick

The study, published in the scientific journal Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, showed that a variety of compounds containing the two transition metals ruthenium and osmium, which are in the same part of the periodic table as precious metals such as platinum and gold, cause significant death of ovarian and colon cancer cells.

The compounds were also effective against cancer cells that were resistant to the drug cis-platinum - the most successful transition metal drug, containing the metal platinum.

Dr. Patrick McGowan, one of the main authors of the study, from the School of Chemistry at the University of Leeds, explains: "Ruthenium and osmium compounds show very high levels of activity against ovarian cancer, a finding that is an important step forward in the field of medicinal chemistry."

Sabine H. van Rijt, principal investigator in the laboratory of Peter Sadler in the Department of Chemistry of the University of Warwick, adds: "Surprisingly, cancer cells that showed resistance against the successful drug cisplatin showed a high rate of death in their reaction with these compounds."

Professor Sadler adds: "The researchers are excited about the novel design features found in these compounds that will enable this activity to be turned on and off."

Cis-platin was discovered in the seventies and is one of the most successful anti-cancer drugs on the market today, and has a ninety-five percent success rate in the treatment of testicular cancer. Since the success of cis-platinum, chemists all over the world have been trying to find out whether compounds of other transition metals could also be used against cancer.

In this type of anticancer drugs based on transition metals, their atoms bind to DNA. As a result, a process of programmed cell death (apoptosis) of the cancer cells begins.

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2 תגובות

  1. point,
    Cancer in this context is an overall name for a family of processes that have a common denominator, but are different from each other. And there are unfortunately many such processes. This is the reality at the moment: there is this kind of cancer and there is that kind of cancer, and each one has a different treatment to a certain extent.

  2. It can definitely be argued that our science is still primitive, after decades and who knows how many budgets a cure for cancer has not yet been found.

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