Scientists have recently developed a molecule that binds copper with DNA which may stop cancer cells from spreading.

Researchers are hopeful although the work is in its first steps of research. The hope is that the discover of this new medical compound will lead to new drugs that fight tumors more effectively than current chemotherapy agents.

Chemists, biochemists, and physicists from Bielefeld University in Germany worked on this new molecule and reported their work in the journal Inorganic Chemistry.

The team believed that their molecule is able to more efficiently kill cancer cells than the widely used chemotherapy drug, cisplatin. Cisplatin kills cancer cells by attacking their DNA, but in a different way.

Cisplatin has been used as a chemotherapy agent for cancer treatment for over 30 years. Although the drug is effective against some cancer, it does not work for all cancers. Cisplatin’s most common side effects are nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. One of the more important issues that cisplatin has encountered is that is that of drug resistance – an issue that often occurs with drugs that have been widely used for a long time.

A lot of cancer research has been focused on variants of cisplatin, but the new copper complex is a completely new compound.

For these reasons, this team wanted to find a completely new agent that was unrelated to cisplatin in order to overcome these issues.

The only similarity between the new copper molecule and cisplatin is that both agents attack the DNA of cancer cells, however they each do so in completely different ways.

Cisplatin works by attacking the nucleobases in cancer cell DNA, while the new copper molecule works by attacking the phospates. 

In June 2014, researchers found that another copper compound may form the basis of the first therapy for ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.



Gerry Oginski
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