Creating a free account will enable you to subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters, as well as customize your reading experience to show only the categories most relevant to you.
Signing up only take a few minutes, so why not give it a try and see what you've been missing out on.
Researchers at Cardiff University have created a peptide (a small piece of protein), linked to a light-responsive dye, capable of switching 'on' death pathways in cancer cells. The peptide remains inactive until exposed to external light pulses which convert it into a cell death signal.
Complex mechanisms in healthy cells normally protect us from developing cancer. However, when the finely balanced networks of interactions between proteins that control such mechanisms are disturbed, uncontrolled cell growth can occur.
The Cardiff team has developed a peptide-switch to alter critical interactions in B-cell lymphoma cancer cells in a 'smart' and controlled way. This new pathway activation technology, called transient photoactivation, may enable scientists to identify cells normally resistant to chemotherapy leading to the development of more effective treatment strategies.
Professor Rudolf Allemann from Cardiff University's School of Chemistry, who led the research, said:
"Whilst killing cancer cells is a goal in itself, this is also proof of a wider principle. Directing therapeutic peptides to the precise location where they are required can be difficult, but activating peptides with light will allow us to precisely define the area where we wish a peptide to act.
"Our research demonstrates that we can control cellular processes with light, which has implications for research in biology and medicine, as our tools can be used to understand the inner workings of cells and to work out how to correct misfiring pathways that lead to disease.
"This work may eventually lead to photo-controlled drugs and tools to probe molecular interactions in intact cells and whole organisms with enormous consequences for biomedical research."
This research required the combined expertise of scientists from three Schools at Cardiff (Chemistry, Medicine, and Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences), who contributed different perspectives and techniques to develop this technology. The findings are published in the journal Molecular Biosystems..
The work was funded by an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grant worth £1.4M.
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
Visit our Cancer / Oncology category page for the latest news on this subject.
Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:
Cardiff University. "Light pulses stimulate designer peptides to initiate a death pathway in cancerous cells." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 18 Oct. 2013. Web.
6 Dec. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/267583>
Cardiff University. (2013, October 18). "Light pulses stimulate designer peptides to initiate a death pathway in cancerous cells." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.
If you write about specific medications, operations, or procedures please do not name healthcare professionals by name.
For any corrections of factual information, or to contact the our editorial team, please use our feedback form. Please send any medical news or health news press releases to:
Note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. For more information, please read our terms and conditions.
This page was printed from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/267583.php
Visit www.medicalnewstoday.com for medical news and health news headlines posted throughout the day, every day.
© 2004-2013 All rights reserved. MNT (logo) is the registered trade mark of MediLexicon International Limited.