Cervical, breast, ovarian, and lung cancers could all be treated using a new family of molecules that kill cancer cells while safeguarding healthy cells. According to studies published in EBioMedicine, the molecules not only target and kill cancer cells but also have a protective effect on healthy cells against toxins.
DNA damage can cause cells to develop cancer. Smoking, chemicals, and radiation are just a few of the many factors that can damage DNA; knowing exactly what happens at the point of DNA damage can help researchers create new cancer treatments. Researchers from the University of Waterloo in Canada were able to find new molecules that specifically target cancer cells by investigating this mechanism.
Femtosecond time-resolved laser spectroscopy is a kind of molecular filming technique that the researchers used to investigate the DNA damage process. The method uses two light pulses—one to initiate a reaction and the other to watch how molecules respond—similar to a high-speed camera. This method allowed researchers to view the interactions between molecules in real-time, revealing how cancerous cells develop.
For decades, the fields of femtochemistry and femtobiology have employed femtosecond laser spectroscopy to study biological molecules. This technique has more recently been combined with molecular biology and cell biology methods to improve our comprehension of human diseases, particularly cancer, and how their treatments operate. Femtomedicine is the name given to this prospective new discipline (FMD).
Professor Qing-Bin Lu, the study’s lead author from the University of Waterloo in Canada, stated that “we know DNA damage is the initial and crucial step in the development of cancer.” “With the FMD approach, we can go back in time to discover what first results in DNA damage, then mutation, and finally cancer. As it can reduce the need for resources to synthesise and screen a large library of compounds, FMD shows promise as an effective, economical, and rational approach for finding new drugs.
The nonplatinum-based halogenated molecules, or FMD compounds, are a new family of molecules that Professor Lu and his associates discovered using the FMD method. These resemble cisplatin, a medication used to treat malignancies of the ovary, testicles, lung, brain, and other organs. The novel FMD compounds, in contrast to the very poisonous cisplatin, do not affect healthy cells.
The FMD compounds react violently when entering a cancer cell, creating reactive radicals that lead to the cancer cell’s self-destruction. A healthy cell begins to produce more of the defensive molecule glutathione (GSH) when FMD chemicals enter the cell. This shields the cell from chemical poisons, preventing harm.