Exploring Calcium’s Potential as a Cancer Treatment

02/02/2024

Exploring Calcium’s Potential as a Cancer Treatment

“Breakthrough Anti-Cancer Drug Utilizes Calcium Regulation to Target Tumors”

Researchers at Ewha Women’s University in Seoul have developed a promising anti-cancer drug that controls calcium levels within cells, effectively eliminating malignant tumors. Published in the journal Angewandte Chemie, the study introduces a novel approach that leverages harmful excess calcium ions to induce a “calcium storm” capable of destroying tumors.

Illustration of drugs attacking cancer cells. Photo: iStock

The drug employs silica nanoparticles containing dyes, which are recognized and transported by tumors into target cells. Upon activation by infrared light, the dye initiates a dual attack. Firstly, it generates reactive oxygen species (ROS), opening calcium channels in the cell’s outer membrane. Simultaneously, the nanostructure heats up, prompting the release of calcium from the cell’s storage organelles, leading to the destruction of the tumor.

While this technique has shown effectiveness in laboratory research on cultured cancer cells, subsequent tests on mice demonstrated the drug’s ability to remain within the tumor. When exposed to near-infrared light, the drug successfully caused tumors in mice to disappear within a few days.

Although further research is required before human testing, the concept of activating ion channels presents a promising avenue for potential cancer treatment.

The global incidence and mortality rates of cancer continue to rise, particularly in developing countries. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are nearly 20 million new cancer cases reported annually, resulting in over 10 million deaths, with two-thirds occurring in developing nations.

Thuc Linh (According to NY Post, New Atlantic)

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