It will soon be possible to ‘illuminate’ cancer cells to make them easier to remove



Biochemists at the University of Eastern Piedmont (UPO) have coordinated an important study that promises to give new tools to counteract gliomas;very dangerous brain tumors that leave little chance of survival.

Indeed, the Italian researchers were able to take an important step forward in the context of researching new therapies for the treatment of these tumors. They have identified a selected fluorescent molecule (termed probe 10) is able to selectively bind to the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase 1A3 (termed ALDH1A3), ‘illuminating’ it. this molecule able to illuminate only cancer cells From a glioma, not healthy tissue.

Neurosurgeons will be able to use this feature as primary support for complete resection of the tumor mass, in the operating room. In fact, the main treatment for these tumors remains surgical resection, in an area that is mildly complex to intervene.

The techniques used today to remove these tumors are based on a molecule called fluorescein. This, however, is not selective as it has no biochemical specificity. The absence of selectivity results in poor highlighting of diseased tissue compared to healthy tissue.

to benefit from certain differences Between ALDH1A3 and other isoenzymes of the same family, it was possible to develop a molecule highly specific for ALDH1A3, an enzyme upregulated in these tumors. Later, it was possible He actually developed a tool capable of “illuminating” only cancer cellshe is in the laboratory that He lives.

The interdisciplinary study was coordinated by Silvia Garafalia – Associate Professor of Biochemistry, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Petra – and published in a reputable journal Communication biologyfrom the group natures.

Our isolated molecule sI act like a glow-in-the-dark bar that charges itself with lightAnd the It’s like the ones on children’s bedroom walls that are almost invisible during the day and turn into stars, moons and hearts when it gets dark.” Professor Garavalia explained. “Our probe binds well to the target enzyme that is present in large amounts in the tumor, and once illuminated with the appropriate light, it reveals its location allowing the neurosurgeon to operate in a very precise way by removing all of the cancer cells.. “

Professor Silvia Garavaglia and her fellow researchers say they are proud of the study that was conducted and expect to have, within two years, a molecule to be tested in the clinical phase.
The biochemists’ research is an important starting point for developing cutting-edge therapies and new technologies to combat these devastating tumors.





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