Scientists kill 99% of cancer cells with vibrating molecules in the lab. A team of researchers from Rice University, Texas A&M University, and the University of Texas collaborated to make a significant discovery in the fight to find a cure for cancer. These scientists have identified a novel method to eradicate cancer cells by harnessing the unique properties of specific molecules that exhibit intense vibrations when exposed to light stimulation.
According to a recent release, the researchers observed that the atoms of Aminocyanine can synchronize their vibrations, forming what is known as a plasmon, when stimulated by near-infrared light. This phenomenon leads to the rupture of the cell membrane in cancerous cells. The study reports an impressive 99 percent efficiency in eliminating lab cultures of human melanoma cells.
After receiving this cutting-edge treatment, fifty percent of the mice that had been diagnosed with melanoma tumors were found to be cancer-free. The findings of this discovery represent a big step forward in the ongoing efforts to reduce the number of deaths that are caused by cancer. These findings provide encouraging outcomes in both laboratory settings and animal trials.
What needs to be highlighted is that we've discovered another explanation for how these molecules can work.- Chemist Ciceron Ayala-Orozco from Rice University
James Tour, a chemist who works with rice, labels the most recent development as the beginning of a new era of molecular machines, referring to them as "molecular jackhammers." As a new phenomenon, he recounts the most recent development that has taken place. In the past, his group has made use of nanoscale compounds that have a light-activated paddle-like chain of atoms.
An illustration of cancer cells growing on a t-cell.
Since this chain rotates in the same direction over and over again, it functions as a drilling mechanism that enables it to penetrate the outer membrane of pathogenic bacteria, cancer cells, and fungi that are resistant to treatment.
Molecular jackhammers, in contrast to nanoscale drills that were modeled after the molecular motors that were developed by Nobel laureate Bernard Feringa, make use of a method of action that is completely original and has never been experienced before. This mechanism of action has never been seen before.
They are more than one million times faster in their mechanical motion than the former Feringa-type motors, and they can be activated with near-infrared light rather than visible light.- James Tour
When compared to visible light, near-infrared light can travel far deeper into the body, making it possible to access organs or bones without causing damage to the tissues that are in the surrounding area.
“Near-infrared light can go as deep as 10 centimeters into the human body as opposed to only half a centimeter, the depth of penetration for visible light, which we used to activate the nano drills,” said Mr. Tour, Rice's T. T. and W. F. Chao Professor of Chemistry and a professor of materials science and nanoengineering. "It is a huge advance."
Using this easy biomechanical method, it is difficult for cancer cells to build any kind of resistance to the treatment. At this time, the researchers are investigating additional types of compounds that can be used similarly.