It is a fact that when the DNA of cells is damaged, they tend to be cancerous. Several things can damage DNA such as cigarette smoking, toxic chemicals and even radiation.
Studying what really occurs when DNA is damaged is very helpful for scientists in the development of treatments for cancer. By understanding this tool, scholars at the University of Waterloo, Canada were able to point out new molecules that will target cancer cells.
The researchers conducted a study about the development of DNA damage by making use of a molecular filming system ‘femtosecond time-resolved laser spectroscopy’. The system resembles an extraordinary camera with 2 beats of light: one light is to initiate a feedback, and the other light is to screen the manner in which the molecules respond. This system made researchers observe in what way molecules act together as they are in real time. This actually reveals the manner in which cells turn to be cancerous.
As a matter of fact, for many years now, researchers have been utilizing femtosecond laser spectroscopy for their study on biological molecules in Femtobiology and Femtochemistry. Lately, this system was bonded with molecular and cell biology procedures to improve their knowledge on human ailments, particularly cancer, and in what way treatments will work. This new study is labelled as FMD or femtomedicine.
Professor Qing-Bin Lu, the principal author of the research at the U of Waterloo, stated that we are all aware that DNA damage is the primary and critical phase in cancer. He also said that approach of FMD, experts can study and understand what causes DNA damage and then their transformation that leads to cancer. FMD approach is certainly a proficient, inexpensive and balanced method to discover new medications for it can save funds necessary to manufacture and monitor a big collection of compounds.
By taking the benefit of the FMD approach, Professor Lu and together with his associates learned a new group of molecules termed nonplatinum-based halogenated molecules. These compounds are similar to the drug, cisplatin, that provides treatments to reproductive, respiratory and nervous systems. But, while cisplatin is very toxic, these FMD compounds are not detrimental to healthy human cells.
The process goes this way, the FMD compounds would enter a cancer cell, then they will strongly react and then they will form sensitive radicals, which will make the cell to destroy itself. On the other hand, when the FMD compounds would enter a normal cell, the cell will begin to rise the volume of a protecting molecule called glutathione (GSH) in the cell. This defends the cell from any chemical pollutants, which makes it undamaged.
The study was conducted to both human cells and in mice cells and the results were constant. They cured human cells with these FMD compounds and verified them to find out if the cells were destroyed. They also made a test on the stages of GSH in the cells, showing that the quantity of defending molecule increased in the healthy cells, while it is reduced in cancer cells.
They then verified the FMD compounds on a sort of tumors present in mice, signifying reproductive and respiratory systems. They were able to measure the degree to which the FMD compounds reduced the growth of tumor and found out that it was efficient in slowing down tumor growth.
Professor Lu showed his excitement about the discovery of these FMD compounds. Their group is confident that FMD compounds are as effective as cisplatin in mice cells but without being harmful. He believes that it can possibly treat many cancer types and patients don’t have to suffer the harmful side effects that several current medicines have.
Professor Lu said that they want to help many cancer patients and they are planning have it into medical trials the soonest possible.