A cancer-killing drug has passed a test


Researchers have successfully tested a “Trojan Horse” drug that kills cancer and bacterial cells while leaving healthy tissue unharmed.

To trick malignant cells into ingesting the tiny cancer-killing molecule SeNBD, scientists at the University of Edinburgh combined it with a chemical food compound.

The peer-reviewed experimental study used zebrafish and human cells, but researchers say more research is needed to determine whether it is a safe and effective way to treat early-stage cancer and drug-resistant bacteria.

According to the University of Edinburgh, cancerous cells are “greedy” and require a large amount of food for energy, and they typically consume more than healthy cells.

When SeNBD is combined with a chemical food compound, it becomes “ideal prey for harmful cells” that ingest it “without being alerted to its toxic nature.”

The drug was created by researchers at the University of Edinburgh, who likened it to a Trojan Horse and its effects to a “metabolic warhead.”

SeNBD is also a light-activated photosensitiser, which means it only kills cells when exposed to visible light.

According to the university, this means a surgeon can precisely decide when to activate the drug, reducing the risk of it destroying healthy tissues and avoiding side effects like hair loss caused by other anti-cancer drugs.

The study’s findings were published in Nature Communications.

“This research represents an important advance in the design of new therapies that can be simply activated by light irradiation, which is generally very safe,” said lead researcher Professor Marc Vendrell, chair of translational chemistry and Biomedical Imaging at the University of Edinburgh.

“SeNBD is one of the tiniest photosensitizers ever created, and its use as a ‘Trojan horse’ in interventional medicine opens up a slew of new possibilities for killing harmful cells while sparing healthy tissue.”

The drug is delivered through the “front door of the cell,” rather than having to “find a way to batter through the cell’s defenses,” according to Dr. Sam Benson, a post-doctoral researcher at the university.

The Greek mythology legend of the Trojan Horse tells of Greek soldiers building a massive hollowed-out wooden horse in which they hid to gain access to the city of Troy after pretending to desert the war.

The Trojans received the massive structure as a gift and ushered it inside the city walls, only for Greek warriors to emerge from within the city walls and sack the city.