RESEARCHERS from the University of Southampton are part of an international team that has helped to create a molecule that can cause cancer cells to die by carrying sodium and chloride ions into the cells. “This work shows how chloride transporters can work with sodium channels in cell membranes to cause an influx of salt into a cell. We found we can trigger cell death with salt,” said study co-author Professor Philip Gale, of the University of Southampton.
Scientists coated the nanospheres in layers of a common chemotherapy drug called cisplatin and found that when applied to the tumor, the cancer cells stopped reproducing and many of them died. They then tested the golden nanospheres on brain tumor samples given a dose of radiation similar to what a cancer patient would receive. Electrons within the golden core of the nanospheres became “excited,” according to the study, which triggered the breakdown of genetic material, or DNA, within the cancer cells. The process also allowed the chemotherapy to attack the weakened tumor.