Cancer Diagnostics / Clinical Lab Industry News

Fighting cancer cells with light

Fighting cancer cells with lightA peptide developed by researchers is capable of turning ‘on’ death pathways in cancer cells. The peptide is linked to light-responsive dye and will remain inactive until exposed to external light pulses, which converts it into a cell death signal.

Normally, healthy cells activate complex mechanisms in order to protect the body from developing cancer. But when uncontrolled cell growth occurs, these complex interactions are disturbed.

The peptide-switch, developed by Cardiff University researchers, alters interactions in B-cell lymphoma cancer cells in a controlled manner. This method is called ‘transient photoactivation’ and it helps to identify the cells that are normally resistant to chemotherapy. The team said this would lead to more effective treatment pathways.

Lead researcher, Rudolf Allemann of Cardiff University’s School of Chemistry said “Our research demonstrates that we can control cellular processes with light, which has implications for research in biology and medicine, as our tools can be used to understand the inner workings of cells and to work out how to correct misfiring pathways that lead to disease”.

He concluded “This work may eventually lead to photo-controlled drugs and tools to probe molecular interactions in intact cells and whole organisms with enormous consequences for biomedical research”.


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