Taking aim at gastric cancer: New approach to selective chemotherapy

phys.org | 1/20/2016 | Staff
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A novel drug, named "FerriIridium," can simultaneously help diagnose and treat gastric cancer. The initially weakly active precursor (prodrug), based on an iridium-containing compound, is selectively activated only after reaching the interior of a tumor cell. This is possible because of the higher amount of iron present there, report scientists in the journal Angewandte Chemie. Selective activation reduces undesired side effects.

Cells transport substances from their exterior to their interior by folding in small regions of their membrane and then binding them off (endocytosis). This is how FerriIridium enters target cells. The resulting vesicles then fuse with lysosomes. These cell organelles have an acidic environment that contains trivalent iron ions, Fe(III), and enzymes, with which they dismantle cell components that are no longer needed. In gastric cancer cells, the Fe(III) concentration within the lysosomes is significantly elevated.

Scientists - Yu - Chen - **** - Chao

Scientists working with Yu Chen and **** Chao at Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, and Hunan University of Science and Technology, Xiangtan (China) made use of this feature. They equipped FerriIridium with a special functional group (the m-iminocatechol group) that selectively binds to Fe(III). When bound, the functional group is oxidized while the iron...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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