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Researchers use salt to kill cancer cells

Written by: QMI AGENCY
Aug. 12, 2014

(Fotolia)


British and American researchers have developed a molecule that can carry salt to cancer cells, causing them to self-destruct.

The study conducted at the University of Southampton involves synthetic ion transporters, which carry the sodium and chloride ions to cancer cells and help the salt bind and dissolve into the membrane of the cell. Once salt enters the cell, it changes the ion balance and kills it.

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"We found we can trigger cell death with salt," study co-author Philip Gale said in a press release.

Jonathan Sessler, a University of Texas professor and study co-author, said the development is exciting because "it points the way towards a new approach to anticancer drug development."

One problem, however, is the synthetic molecule causes healthy cells to die, meaning a chloride transporter that only binds to cancerous cells will need to be developed, researchers said.

The study was published in the journal Nature Chemistry.

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