Scientists of Indian Institute of Science ( IISc ), Bengaluru, have found a great and new method to kill cancerous cells. Basically, it is done by using ‘iron-based’ compounds decorated with organic groups.
Why Red – light: ” Red light is used because it is the longer wavelength that enables it to penetrate the skin deeper. Generally, normal cells don’t allow the compound to get in, but cancerous cells do, thus we have taken the advantage of this”, said professor Akhil Chakravarty, department of Inorganic and Physical chemistry.
How it works (Photodynamic Therapy): Medical Research has shown that the red-light works as a switch. It turns these compounds on and off. Just like a Trojan horse, the organic molecule directs the compound into mitochondria of the cancerous cells. Also, the light-sensitive iron- based compound generates reactive oxygen species when exposed to red lights. The generated reactive oxygen species destroy the mitochondria. Thus, it kills the cancerous cells. The therapy used in killing the cancerous cell is Photodynamic Therapy(PDT)
Why targeting mitochondria: The reason for targeting mitochondria is because unlike nuclear DNA, mitochondrial have no repair mechanisms. Whereas, DNA repairs itself when damaged by drugs. So cells die once the mitochondria are damaged. According to the research, mitochondrial dysfunction implicated in tumorigenesis. Thereby makes it a popular target for the development of various cytotoxins.
What is Photodynamic Therapy: Photodynamic therapy(PDT) is relatively a new mode of cancer treatment. It depends on the retention of the photosynthesizers in the tumour cells. These are followed by their selective activation under red light in the presence of molecular oxygen. Photosynthesizers are basically light-sensitive compounds which cause localized oxidative damage within the target cells upon irradiation.
Cancerous cells :
They are the cells that grow and divide at a rapid and unregulated pace .Though they are regularly created by our body but cancer only occurs when immune cells(natural killer cells) fail to recognize or destroy them .
After conducting the medical research, it is seen that almost all the cancerous cells were destroyed when the red light was used. Since the procedure relies on the ability of the red light to penetrate the skin. Therefore only certain cancers can be targeted. ” We are mainly bothered about oral cancer and skin cancer , so by using endoscopy and colonoscopy we are able to take the red light inside the body and achieve similar results.” said professor Akhil Chakravarty, department of Inorganic and Physical chemistry, sounding very optimistic.