Scientists use catalysts to destroy cancerous cells from within

phys.org | 9/9/2019 | Staff
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Using "Trojan horses" to combat cancer from within the tumour cells themselves without damaging healthy tissues is the aim of this new tool created by researchers from the University of Granada (UGR), the Institute of Nanoscience of Aragon (INA), the University of Zaragoza, and the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre at the University of Edinburgh.

The researchers have used exosomes as "Trojan horses" to deliver palladium (Pd) catalysts into cancer cells. "We introduce the catalyst into tiny vesicles or exosomes the size of about 100 nanometres, which are capable of traveling right inside the tumorous cell. Once there, they catalyse a reaction that transforms a passive molecule into a potent anticancer agent," explains Professor Jesús Santamaría of the University of Zaragoza, who, along with Doctor Asier Unciti-Broceta of the University of Edinburgh, has led this study published by the prestigious scientific journal Nature Catalysis.

Research - Exosomes - Palladium - Nanosheets - Catalysis

Participating in the research, entitled "Cancer-derived exosomes loaded with ultrathin palladium nanosheets for targeted bioorthogonal catalysis," are Belén Rubio Ruiz of the UGR, María Sancho, Víctor Sebastián, and Manuel Arruebo of the University of Zaragoza, and Pilar Martín-Duque of the Aragonese Foundation for Research & Development (ARAID), an agency created by the Government of Aragon within the INA. The work has been carried out in collaboration with the research group of the University of Edinburgh, led by Dr. Asier Unciti-Broceta.

Killing a cancer cell is straightforward: there are many toxic molecules that can perform the task. The challenge is to target the toxic molecule at the cancer cell only, and not at healthy cells. This lack of selectivity in directing anticancer drugs is the cause of the often devastating side effects that cancer patients experience during chemotherapy treatment. Rather than injecting such drugs into the bloodstream, it would be much better if they could be manufactured directly inside the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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