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Rice University Unveils Groundbreaking Cancer Treatment Using Light-Activated Nanomachines

Rice University researchers have developed a new light-activated molecule therapy that can destroy cancer cells. The treatment, involving 'molecular jackhammers,' could revolutionize cancer treatment and beyond.

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BNN Correspondents
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Rice University Unveils Groundbreaking Cancer Treatment Using Light-Activated Nanomachines

Researchers at Rice University have ushered in a new era in cancer therapy with a groundbreaking innovation: nanomachines capable of destroying cancer cells. These molecular machines, coined as 'molecular jackhammers,' are activated by light and vibrate intensely to rupture cancer cell membranes. The spearheads of this transformative research are James Tour, the T.T. and W.F. Chao Professor of Chemistry, and research scientist Ciceron Ayala Orozco.

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Light-Activated Molecular Jackhammers

The therapy developed by the Rice University team revolves around small dye molecules. When stimulated by near-infrared light, these molecules vibrate in unison, causing the cell membrane of cancerous cells to rupture. The method has proven remarkably effective, annihilating 99% of human melanoma cells in lab cultures. Moreover, in mice with melanoma tumors, half became cancer-free following the treatment.

The innovative aspect of this treatment lies in its selectivity. The molecular jackhammers are non-lethal unless activated by a specific light. This makes the therapy more targeted and potentially less damaging than traditional chemotherapy, which often harms healthy cells alongside cancerous ones.

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Revolutionizing Cancer Treatment

The researchers at Rice University believe that this new modality could revolutionize medicine. The light-activated molecule therapy could open up a new mode of treatment extending beyond cancer. The molecules, already FDA-approved for imaging, can penetrate deep into the body without damaging tissue, making them ideal for treating various cell types.

From Lab to Real-World Application

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While the results are undoubtedly promising, the light-activated molecule therapy is still in its early stages. The treatment will need to clear several hurdles before it can be used to treat cancer in patients. However, the fact that these molecular jackhammers are already FDA-approved for imaging purposes could streamline the approval process for human use.

The news of this scientific breakthrough has been reported by various media outlets, including KOA Online, New York Post, US Time Today, Feeder Spot, and TheMercury.com. Both Tour and Ayala Orozco were featured in Rice University's Dateline, with Ayala Orozco also participating in a segment on KOA Online.

The discovery has sparked a wave of optimism in the fight against cancer, demonstrating the power of innovation and the tireless dedication of researchers striving to improve human health. As the world watches, the team at Rice University continues to push the boundaries of what is possible, shining a light on a promising future for cancer treatment.

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