Scientists fight cancer cells - with salt

A cancer cell

A cancer cell

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

SCIENTISTS in Southampton have helped create a technique which can cause cancer cells to self-destruct by injecting them with salt.

Researchers from the University of Southampton are part of an international team that has helped to create a molecule that can cause cancer cells to die by carrying sodium and chloride ions into the cells.

Synthetic ion transporters have been created before but this is the first time researchers have demonstrated how an influx of salt into a cell triggers cell death.

Now the team led by the Texas University has become the first in the world to successfully demonstrate how the technology can be used to kill cancerous cells with an influx of salt.

But their creation still needs extra woRk before it is safe to use on humans.

Synthetic ion transporter molecules have previously been championed as leading the way to developing anticancer drugs and benefiting patients with cystic fibrosis.

The team is the first to show how they can be used to carry sodium and chloride ions and penetrate cancerous cells and eventually cause them to self destruct.

Cancer disrupts a mechanism called apoptosis – a method where the human body kills off damaged and dangerous cells to protect itself.

But the team has developed synthetic ion transporters attached to chloride ions.

It creates an ‘organic blanket’ around the ion allowing it to dissolve into the cell’s membrane.

Once there it triggers the self destruct process by transport sodium ions in channels inside the membrane which largely consists of lipids or fats.

The Southampton University team has demonstrated how the ion transporters can work by using a model system with utilising artificial lipid membranes.

Academics at Yonsei University were then able to show that these molecules triggered death in cultured human cancer cells.

But the technology is still unsafe to use in cancer treatment as it triggers death in both cancerous and healthy cells.

The experts must build on their research to create a chloride transporter solely binding to cancerous cells.

However, the researchers found that their synthetic molecule triggers programmed cell death in both cancerous and healthy cells. To be useful in treating cancer, a version of a chloride transporter will have to be developed that binds only to cancerous cells.

Southampton University study co-author Professor Philip Gale said: “This work shows how chloride transporters can work with sodium channels in cell membranes to cause an influx of salt into a cell.

“We found we can trigger cell death with salt.”

Comments (8)

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6:17am Wed 13 Aug 14

Norwegian Saint says...

Footballers get paid thousands per day/week/year... why don't these guys and girls get the same?
Well done on the research Southampton, let's hope it's the breakthrough we've been asking for.
Footballers get paid thousands per day/week/year... why don't these guys and girls get the same? Well done on the research Southampton, let's hope it's the breakthrough we've been asking for. Norwegian Saint
  • Score: 5

6:25am Wed 13 Aug 14

OddlyPat says...

Norwegian Saint wrote:
Footballers get paid thousands per day/week/year... why don't these guys and girls get the same?
Well done on the research Southampton, let's hope it's the breakthrough we've been asking for.
So very true, kudos to the researchers and please God that this is the path to a cure for a dreadful desease
[quote][p][bold]Norwegian Saint[/bold] wrote: Footballers get paid thousands per day/week/year... why don't these guys and girls get the same? Well done on the research Southampton, let's hope it's the breakthrough we've been asking for.[/p][/quote]So very true, kudos to the researchers and please God that this is the path to a cure for a dreadful desease OddlyPat
  • Score: 6

6:34am Wed 13 Aug 14

skeptik says...

Many of these folk do the work regardless of pay - which just goes to expose the lie oft spouted by politicians - 'you have to pay the top rate to get the best'. Great news for those of us who have seen cancer destroy a life.
Many of these folk do the work regardless of pay - which just goes to expose the lie oft spouted by politicians - 'you have to pay the top rate to get the best'. Great news for those of us who have seen cancer destroy a life. skeptik
  • Score: 9

8:19am Wed 13 Aug 14

SNUGGLES 78 says...

arm and hammer bicarb does the same job , few quid online.
arm and hammer bicarb does the same job , few quid online. SNUGGLES 78
  • Score: -8

8:44am Wed 13 Aug 14

forest hump says...

Good to see Southampton University working on such a valuable subject. The U of T in Austin along with the Houston Medical Centre are world leaders in Cancer research. Let's hope they make some breakthrough. Certainly an example of funds being sensibly allocated.
Good to see Southampton University working on such a valuable subject. The U of T in Austin along with the Houston Medical Centre are world leaders in Cancer research. Let's hope they make some breakthrough. Certainly an example of funds being sensibly allocated. forest hump
  • Score: 3

1:34pm Wed 13 Aug 14

sammytsang says...

Norwegian Saint wrote:
Footballers get paid thousands per day/week/year... why don't these guys and girls get the same?
Well done on the research Southampton, let's hope it's the breakthrough we've been asking for.
This is the reason why I never give any of my money to football clubs. Because they overpay their staff (footballer)

Start with the below

Earth should start capping footballers wages to £100,000 a year.
Minimum wage for a footballer should be whatever is the standard minimum wage. £6 per hour? If they want more money get a real job.

Being a footballer is not really an occupation, it's a form of sport/ entertainment.
[quote][p][bold]Norwegian Saint[/bold] wrote: Footballers get paid thousands per day/week/year... why don't these guys and girls get the same? Well done on the research Southampton, let's hope it's the breakthrough we've been asking for.[/p][/quote]This is the reason why I never give any of my money to football clubs. Because they overpay their staff (footballer) Start with the below Earth should start capping footballers wages to £100,000 a year. Minimum wage for a footballer should be whatever is the standard minimum wage. £6 per hour? If they want more money get a real job. Being a footballer is not really an occupation, it's a form of sport/ entertainment. sammytsang
  • Score: 1

2:22pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Kirsty666 says...

sammytsang wrote:
Norwegian Saint wrote:
Footballers get paid thousands per day/week/year... why don't these guys and girls get the same?
Well done on the research Southampton, let's hope it's the breakthrough we've been asking for.
This is the reason why I never give any of my money to football clubs. Because they overpay their staff (footballer)

Start with the below

Earth should start capping footballers wages to £100,000 a year.
Minimum wage for a footballer should be whatever is the standard minimum wage. £6 per hour? If they want more money get a real job.

Being a footballer is not really an occupation, it's a form of sport/ entertainment.
The minimum wage to be precise is £6.31ph more than enough for kicking a ball around. Same as the royal family that don't work they should just get the basic jsa wage
[quote][p][bold]sammytsang[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Norwegian Saint[/bold] wrote: Footballers get paid thousands per day/week/year... why don't these guys and girls get the same? Well done on the research Southampton, let's hope it's the breakthrough we've been asking for.[/p][/quote]This is the reason why I never give any of my money to football clubs. Because they overpay their staff (footballer) Start with the below Earth should start capping footballers wages to £100,000 a year. Minimum wage for a footballer should be whatever is the standard minimum wage. £6 per hour? If they want more money get a real job. Being a footballer is not really an occupation, it's a form of sport/ entertainment.[/p][/quote]The minimum wage to be precise is £6.31ph more than enough for kicking a ball around. Same as the royal family that don't work they should just get the basic jsa wage Kirsty666
  • Score: 1

5:34pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Dr Martin says...

Glad the substance used to kill the cells is Salt, if it had been cannabis the stoners would have been over this story like flies over a piece of s***
Glad the substance used to kill the cells is Salt, if it had been cannabis the stoners would have been over this story like flies over a piece of s*** Dr Martin
  • Score: 1

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