Chemists are targeting the defence mechanisms of cells in a bid to tackle cancer, researchers have revealed.
University of Warwick scientists, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), are using the metal ruthenium to create a reaction that stops cells developing the antioxidant chemical glutathione.
Oxidants have long been known to have a detrimental effect on cells. As the targeted cells are forced to drop their glutathione defences, oxidant levels increase and the cancerous cells dies.
University of Warwick Chemistry professor Peter Sadler explained: “We know oxidants produce free radicals that damage cells. Our experiments show ruthenium produces a reaction in the cell which destroys its antioxidant defence glutathione – thus destroying the cancer-infected cell.
“Working with colleagues in Edinburgh University and Oncosense we’ve proved this could be an effective line of defence against cancer.”
The findings can be found in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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