Scientists have developed a new way to fight cancer cells. They use aminocyanine molecules and near-infrared light to destroy cancer cell membranes.
Aminocyanins are synthetic dyes already used in bioimaging. They are waterproof and adhere well to the outer surfaces of the cell. They are usually used in low doses to detect cancer.
The research group consists of scientists from Rice University, Texas A&M University, and the University of Texas. They describe the new method as a significant improvement over previous methods such as Veringa-type engines. The results of the research were published in the journal “Natural Chemistry”.
“It's a whole new generation of molecular machines that we call 'molecular jackhammers,'” says chemist James Tur of Rice University.
Furthermore, its mechanical movement is a million times faster than previous Verenga engines. They can also be activated using near infrared light instead of visible light.
The use of near-infrared light is crucial because it allows scientists to penetrate deeper into the body. This cancer of the bones and organs can be treated without the need for surgery to remove the cancerous growth.
In tests conducted on cancer cells grown in the laboratory, the method achieved a 99 percent success rate in destroying the cells. This approach has also been tested in mice with melanoma tumors. Half of the animals became cancer-free.
“This is the first time a molecular plasmon has been used in this way to excite an entire molecule and actually produce mechanical motion,” says chemist Cicero Ayala Orozco of Rice University. “In this case, it is used to disrupt the membrane of cancer cells.”
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