A new study found that the stinging chemical in nettles and ants could be used to make a treatment for ovarian cancer fifty times more effective.
Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer among women in the United Kingdom with nearly 7,000 women diagnosed each year and five-year survival rates of 46%. According to Cancer Research UK, approximately one women dies of ovarian cancer every two hours in the United Kingdom.
Sodium Formate, a chemical derived from formic acid, increases the ability of a metal-based cancer treatment to shut down cancer cells.
The chemical could also mean fewer negative side effects than traditional cancer treatments and substantial improvements in survival.
Chemists developed a method for binding Sodium Formate with a compound of the metal ruthenium called JS07 to form a more potent form of the drug.
The new drug is capable of exploiting a cancer cell’s natural weaknesses and disrupting its energy generation mechanism.
Laboratory tests on ovarian cancer cells found it was 50 times more effective than when JS07acted alone.
The new drug acts as a catalyst when it interacts with a cancer cell’s energy generating mechanism causing the cell’s vital processes to stop functioning and for the cell to shut down.
Cancer cells require a complex balance of processes to survive.
When the balance is disrupted the cell is unable to function and eventually shuts down. The potent form of JS07 has proven to be very successful when tested on ovarian cancer cells.
Researchers suggest that a treatment based on the combined chemicals could bring substantial improvements in survival.
It is clear that a new generation of drugs is necessary to save more lives and these findings point to a highly effective way of defeating cancerous cells.