Recently, the Physicists Network reported that an international collaborative study between the University of Warwick and Sun Yat-sen University in China showed that cancer cells can be targeted and destroyed by metal iridium. The heavyweight study was published in the latest issue of Willie Applied Chemistry.
Iridium was first discovered in 1803 and, like the platinum group, it is the most corrosion-resistant metal in the world. Its melting point exceeds 2400 ° C and is uncommon on Earth, but abundant in meteors. It is stored in strata dating back about 66 million years ago. One of the theories derived from this is that it came to Earth with an asteroid, and asteroid impact on the Earth led to the massacre of dinosaurs.
Metal iridium is the second highest density metal in the world. Researchers have created a compound of iridium and organic matter whose photoreaction can be directly exposed to visible laser light and which, when activated by energy, converts the oxygen filled into it into toxic singlet oxygen to kill the cancer cells.
Researchers using state-of-the-art ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry techniques have uncovered unprecedented observation of various proteins in cancer cells to determine which proteins are attacked by organic iridium compounds. After extensive analysis of the data model, it was found that organic iridium compounds can disrupt the heat shock stress and glucose metabolism of proteins, both of which are key molecular mechanisms of cancer action.
Professor Peter Sadler, who leads the effort, said that precious metal platinum has been used in more than 50% of cancer chemotherapies and the potential of other precious metals such as iridium can provide new targeted drugs to attack cancer cells in new ways, And can be safely used with minimal side effects. “International cooperation has greatly accelerated the progress of research and it is time to capitalize on the iridium metal that was given to us by asteroid 66 million years ago.”
Photochemotherapy targeting lasers with laser light is quickly becoming a viable, effective and noninvasive treatment. Patients are more tolerant of traditional therapies, so it is important to establish such a new method. Commenting that the “very important paper” has introduced a different mechanism of action in understanding how new iridium-based anticancer compounds attack cancer cells, it is a leap forward in addressing drug resistance.
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