Aminocyanine Molecules

News Excerpt:

Scientists have identified a novel method to eliminate cancer cells using aminocyanine molecules.

About Aminocyanine molecules:

  • These molecules can break apart cancer cell membranes when stimulated by near-infrared light.
  • It is commonly used as a synthetic dye in bioimaging.
  • It demonstrates over a million times faster mechanical motion than its predecessors.
  • The use of near-infrared light holds significant importance, as it facilitates deeper penetration into the body.
  • This breakthrough could potentially revolutionise the treatment of cancers in bones and organs, eliminating the need for invasive surgeries.

How does it work on cancer cells?

  • As these molecules move, the electrons within them form plasmons, collective vibrating entities that induce movement throughout the entire molecule.
  • The plasmons, resembling molecular arms, connect with cancer cell membranes and, through vibrational movements, dismantle them.

Cancer cells are different to normal cells in various ways:

  • Cancer cells don't stop growing and dividing:
    • Unlike normal cells, cancer cells don't stop growing and dividing when there are enough of them. So, the cells keep doubling, forming a lump (tumour) that grows in size.

  • Cancer cells ignore signals from other cells:
    • Cells send chemical signals to each other all the time. Normal cells obey signals. 
    • But something in cancer cells stops the normal signalling system from working. 
  • Cancer cells don't stick together:
    • Cancer cells can lose the molecules on their surface that keep normal cells in the right place. So they can break away from their neighbours.
  • Cancer cells don't specialise:
    • Unlike healthy cells, cancer cells don't carry on maturing or become so specialised. 
    • Cells mature to carry out their function in the body. This maturing process is called differentiation.
  • Cancer cells don't repair themselves or die:
    • Normal cells can repair themselves if their genes become damaged. This is known as DNA repair.
    • In cancer cells, the molecules that decide whether a cell should repair itself are faulty. 
      • For example, a protein called p53 usually checks if the cell can repair its genes or if it should die. 
      • However, many cancers have a faulty version of p53, so they don't repair themselves properly.
  • Cancer cells look different:
    • are different sizes and some may be larger than normal while others are smaller
    • often have an abnormal shape
    • often have a nucleus (control centre) that looks abnormal.

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