Fight against cancer: scientists bet on a molecule derived from a textile dye

A Franco-Swedish team of researchers has developed a new molecule that attacks cancer cells under the effect of light. The molecule, derived from a textile dye, specifically accumulates in the cells in question and then becomes toxic on contact with light.

Beating cancer with a dye? In any case, this is the objective pursued by a team of Franco-Swedish researchers. The latter have developed a new molecule, derived from a textile dye, in order to practice photochemotherapy, in other words the treatment of a tumor by light.

To achieve their ends, the scientists modified the structure of a molecule derived from the yellow dye. However, said molecule, like all dyes, is sensitive to light. When she receives it, she becomes unstable due to a surplus of energy that she must evacuate. Administered next to a tumour, it would act like a small bomb by destroying cancerous cells. This approach has many advantages, explains Cyrille Monnereau, researcher at the ENS.

A molecule produced on a very large scale

“It will be possible to have a therapeutic effect without injecting pharaminous quantities of this product. And therefore potentially limit the side effects, that is to say the accumulation of molecules in healthy tissues and cell death which could intervene if the concentrations of molecules were too high”, assures the scientist.

The treatment doses could, in fact, be divided by 10, or even by 100. Moreover, this molecule being produced on a very large scale, this could open the way to a new inexpensive therapy to fight against cancer, if trials on humans are conclusive.

Source: Europe1

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