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‘Incredible Breakthrough’: Scientists Destroy 99% of Cancer Cells in Lab Using Molecular Jackhammer

A recently published study used vibrating molecules to destroy cancer cells.

cancer cells
A recent study used molecular vibrations to kill 99% of cancer cells. Credit: Shutterstock/Kateryna Kon

A recently published study used vibrating molecules to destroy cancer cells.

Scientists have found a groundbreaking method for eradicating cancer cells in the lab using vibrating molecules.

The team from Rice University, Texas A&M University, and the University of Texas stimulated aminocyanine molecules with near-infrared light. This causes them to vibrate in sync, breaking apart the cancer membranes.

Aminocyanine molecules are already commonly used as synthetic dyes to detect cancer in bioimaging. Their usefulness comes from how effectively they attach themselves to the outside of cells.

This method called the “molecular jackhammer,” is an improvement on past molecular machines, particularly the Feringa-type Motor.

“They are more than one million times faster in their mechanical motion than the former Feringa-type motors, and they can be activated with near-infrared rather than visible light,” says Rice University Chemist James Tour.

Since near-infrared light can penetrate further than visible light, this opens the door to far less intrusive treatments for cancer.

This new method scored a 99% success rate in lab tests in destroying lab-grown cancer cells. Mice with melanoma tumors were also tested, with half becoming cancer-free.

“This study is about a different way to treat cancer using mechanical forces at the molecular scale,” says Ciceron Ayala-Orozco, a Chemist from Rice University and one of the writers of the article published in Nature Chemistry.

This research offers promising new avenues in terms of cancer treatments. While these are early findings, they offer a new and less invasive approach to cancer treatment.

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Hi! I'm a 2nd year journalism and Welsh student at Cardiff University. I'm passionate about my home language - Welsh - politics, and sci-fi novels!

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