A CANCER “smart bomb” has been invented by British scientists to boost the potency of drugs against the killer disease.
The tiny device, being developed at the University of Edinburgh, carries minute amounts of the metal palladium encased in a harmless capsule directly to the site of deadly tumours to activate chemical treatments.
Dr Asier Unciti-Broceta, of Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre, said: “Palladium is potentially very toxic but it is the most useful catalyst in any chemistry lab. We have developed a ‘ship’ to carry the palladium but not allow it to be freed to do harm.
“Once in place, the palladium is able to trigger the activity of a drug. We can control what it does very, very specifically.” The device could bring hope to thousands of cancer victims and spare people the side effects of current chemotherapy ranging from hair loss to infertility.
Professor Mark Bradley of Edinburgh University, who led the research, published in the journal Nature Protocol, said: “This technique should enable powerful drugs to be made directly where they are needed.”