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New Research Says Metal Compound ‘Targets and Destroys’ Cancer Cells

A research team has witnessed cancer cells being ‘targeted and destroyed’ from the inside by the metal compound called Organo-Osmium FY26. The compound, which is 50 times more active than the current platinum-based cancer drug cisplatin, kills cancer cells by locating and attacking their weakest part—in the DNA of mitochondria, where there are errors and mutations. This makes the cells very weak and susceptible to attack. Per ScienceDaily, “this is the first time that an Osmium-based compound has been seen to target the disease.”

According to the study, FY26 has been shown to be more selective between cancer cells and normal cells than cisplatin, which has a “greater effect on cancer cells than on healthy ones.” The research team, led by Professor Peter J. Sandler of the Department of Chemistry at Warwick University (where FY26 was first discovered), also witnessed zinc and calcium (natural metals produced by the body) move around the cells. “Calcium in particular is known to affect the function of cells, and it is thought that this naturally-produced metal helps FY26 to achieve an optimal position for attacking cancer,” says the team.

Most research shows that approximately half of all patients who receive chemotherapy are treated with a platinum-based chemotherapy drug (informally called platins). Other research places the percentage at well over half. Though platins are powerful and a mainstay of cancer, they were introduced more than four decades ago, so researchers say there is a need to explore the benefits of other precious metals.

Said Professor Sandler, “cancer drugs with new mechanisms of actions which can combat resistance and have fewer side-effects are urgently needed.” Studies such as this “open up totally new approaches to drug discovery and treatment.” This latest study brings assuring news to those suffering from a range of cancers—including mesothelioma.



Carlos Sanchez-Cano, Isolda Romero-Canelón, Yang, Ian J. Hands-Portman, Sylvain Bohic, Peter Cloetens, Peter J. Sadler. Synchrotron X-Ray Fluorescence Nanoprobe Reveals Target Sites for Organo-Osmium Complex in Human Ovarian Cancer Cells. Chemistry - A European Journal, 2017; DOI: 10.1002/chem.201605911

University of Warwick. "Organo-metal compound seen killing cancer cells from inside." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 February 2017.