In the search for alternatives to find an early treatment methodology for cancer scientists have developed a new therapy method in which iridium can be used to target and destroy cancer cells. Presently there are several forms of cancer treatment like chemotherapy, radiation therapy and the recently developed immunotherapy which boosts body’s natural defenses against cancer. But as most of them are expensive and involve extended stays at hospitals researchers are always on the lookout for effective and short term treatment techniques. In this endeavor team of researchers from Warwick University have concluded a new study called as photodynamic theory for treating cancer.
The study’s findings that have been published in journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition state that metal compounds of iridium can be used to destruct cancer cells. When these compounds are activated by light beams they can penetrate into cancer cells and deliver iridium that can selectively kill cancer cells. This is because iridium can attach itself to albumin which is a blood protein and cause it to switch on oxidizing specific within cancer cell nuclei. These oxidizing species that are lethal oxygen molecules can induce a cell to destruct itself.
Co-author of the study Peter Sadler and his team have designed a special coating to the light delivering device which allowed iridium to connect with albumin. The iridium compound on the device acts like a photosensitizer targeting certain oxygen species specifically within cancer cells. In this treatment therapy albumin delivers iridium compounds directly into cancer cells’ nuclei after which scientists activate it through exposure to light. This causes the oxygen molecules existing within the cancer cell nuclei to switch on and self-destruct. The entire sequence of events were tracked and recorded in real time by the team through a microscope as the combination of iridium and albumin turned phosphorescent making its progress easy to monitor.