Scientists have made a significant breakthrough in cancer treatment by using a special type of molecule that vibrates to destroy cancer cells. This new method, developed by a team from Rice University, Texas A&M University, and the University of Texas, involves stimulating aminocyanine molecules with a specific kind of light, causing them to vibrate intensely and break apart cancer cell membranes.
Aminocyanine molecules, commonly used as synthetic dyes in bioimaging to detect cancer, have shown remarkable effectiveness in attaching themselves to the outside of cells.
When exposed to near-infrared light, these molecules vibrate in unison, creating a force strong enough to disrupt the cancer cells' structure.
This approach, termed the "molecular jackhammer" method, has proven to be significantly more effective and faster than previous molecular machines used in cancer treatment.
The near-infrared light used in this method is particularly beneficial as it can penetrate deeper into the body, potentially treating cancers in bones and organs without invasive surgery.
In laboratory tests, this method achieved a 99% success rate in destroying cultured cancer cells. It was also tested on mice with melanoma tumors, resulting in half of the animals becoming cancer-free. The researchers believe this technique is difficult for cancer cells to resist or adapt to, making it a promising avenue for future cancer treatments.
The study, published in Nature Chemistry, opens up new possibilities for treating cancer using mechanical forces at a molecular level. This innovative approach could revolutionize cancer treatment, offering a new, more direct way to target and destroy cancer cells.