Groundbreaking study sheds light on treating cancer

December 12, 2016

The new study, by researchers from UNIST demonstrates a more holistic light-based treatment to nuke cancer cells instead of surgery. The results, reported in the September issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS), could open up new avenues of research in cancer treatment.

This research has been jointly conducted by Prof. Tae-Hyuk Kwon (School Natural Science), Prof. Mi Hee Lim (School of Natural Science), and Prof. Hyun-Woo Rhee (School of Natural Science), and eight other researchers at UNIST.

The study focuses on Iridium(III) complexes as promising novel agents for photodynamic therapy (PDT), a treatment that selectively wipes out cancerous cells without harming surrounding tissue.

It also provides a careful analysis of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production process, as well as the therapeutic effects of specific wavelengths of different colors of light on cancer cells. It turns out that these Iridium(III)-based materials that utilize red lights attack the cancer cells more effectively and eventually lead to the cell death.

The PDT uses special drugs, called photosensitizers (PSs) in combination with harmless visible light to kill cancer cells. Upon activation by light, a PS produces a form of oxygen that display selective cancer cell killing behaviors. However, to date, the detailed mechanisms and direct involvement in PDT have not been revealed clearly.

In the study, Prof. Kwon and his colleagues developed a number of PSs for PDT. The results show that red-light-absorbing PSs with longer wavelengths significantly accelerated ROS production compared to blue and green lights of shorter wavelengths.

Jung Seung Nam (Combined M.S./Ph.D. student of Nature Science, UNIST), the first author of the study states, "These newly-developed Iridium(III) complexes not only induce enhanced production of ROS, but they are also effective at killing cancer cells." He adds, "Using infrared light that penetrate deep into the human body, we are now capable of killing deep cancer tumors without damaging healthy tissue."

To further understand the exact mechanism of apoptotic cell death, the research team characterized the modes of action for Iridium(III) complexes for both protein cross-linking and protein oxidation, using mass spectrometry (MS).

They report that "In living cells, the damage was predominantly found in proteins near the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria with significant association to cell death pathways. Therefore, these Iridium(III) complexes efficiently functioned as PDT agents in cancer cells."

The team expects that their Iridium(III) complexes could be used for additive-free photo-cross-linking in other fields beyond PDT. With further research, this novel agents could conceivably used to treat a wide range of human cancers, researchers say. This study has been supported by the UNIST Alzheimer's Disease research fund.
-end-
Journal Reference: Jung Seung Nam, Myeong-Gyuu Kang, Juhye Kang, Sun-Young Park, Shin Jung C. Lee, Hyun-Tak Kim, Jeong Kon Seo, Oh-Hoon Kwon, Mi Hee Lim, Hyun-Woo Rhee, and Tae-Hyuk Kwon, "Endoplasmic Reticulum-Localized Iridium(III) Complexes as Efficient Photodynamic Therapy Agents via Protein Modifications", JACS, (2016).

Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology(UNIST)

Related Cancer Cells Articles from Brightsurf:

Cancer researchers train white blood cells to attacks tumor cells
Scientists at the National Center for Tumor Diseases Dresden (NCT/UCC) and Dresden University Medicine, together with an international team of researchers, were able to demonstrate that certain white blood cells, so-called neutrophil granulocytes, can potentially - after completing a special training program -- be utilized for the treatment of tumors.

New way to target some rapidly dividing cancer cells, leaving healthy cells unharmed
Scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine and the University of Oxford say they have found a new way to kill some multiplying human breast cancer cells by selectively attacking the core of their cell division machinery.

Breast cancer cells use message-carrying vesicles to send oncogenic stimuli to normal cells
According to a Wistar study, breast cancer cells starved for oxygen send out messages that induce oncogenic changes in surrounding normal epithelial cells.

Breast cancer cells turn killer immune cells into allies
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have discovered that breast cancer cells can alter the function of immune cells known as Natural killer (NK) cells so that instead of killing the cancer cells, they facilitate their spread to other parts of the body.

Breast cancer cells can reprogram immune cells to assist in metastasis
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center investigators report they have uncovered a new mechanism by which invasive breast cancer cells evade the immune system to metastasize, or spread, to other areas of the body.

Engineered immune cells recognize, attack human and mouse solid-tumor cancer cells
CAR-T therapy has been used successfully in patients with blood cancers such as lymphoma and leukemia.

Drug that keeps surface receptors on cancer cells makes them more visible to immune cells
A drug that is already clinically available for the treatment of nausea and psychosis, called prochlorperazine (PCZ), inhibits the internalization of receptors on the surface of tumor cells, thereby increasing the ability of anticancer antibodies to bind to the receptors and mount more effective immune responses.

Engineered bone marrow cells slow growth of prostate and pancreatic cancer cells
In experiments with mice, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center say they have slowed the growth of transplanted human prostate and pancreatic cancer cells by introducing bone marrow cells with a specific gene deletion to induce a novel immune response.

First phase i clinical trial of CRISPR-edited cells for cancer shows cells safe and durable
Following the first US test of CRISPR gene editing in patients with advanced cancer, researchers report these patients experienced no negative side effects and that the engineered T cells persisted in their bodies -- for months.

Zika virus' key into brain cells ID'd, leveraged to block infection and kill cancer cells
Two different UC San Diego research teams identified the same molecule -- αvβ5 integrin -- as Zika virus' key to brain cell entry.

Read More: Cancer Cells News and Cancer Cells Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.