Cancer is a devastating disease that kills millions of people every year. It’s a struggle to watch a friend or family member struggle to fight against it. For centuries the world has been researching and trying to find a cure for it, but all we have accomplished are ways to treat it.
But there may be a glimmer of hope at the end of this dark tunnel, and our hope goes by the name Caitlin Miron. Miron is a PHD student in the chemistry department at Queen’s University, and she claims to have found a way to stop cancer cells from spreading.
For more information on Miron’s discovery, continue reading on.
Miron has identified a chemical compound that may have the ability to “switch off” cancer cells in order to stop them from spreading. While studying at the European Institute of Chemistry and Biology in France, she discovered a compound that binds well to four-stranded DNA structure. This has been linked to the development of cancer and other diseases
To explain her discovery she related the single strand DNA to a necklace with a strand of beads. The beads keep moving along until they get knotted up. She compares the beads to the cell machinery that move along the necklace and processes DNA.
“You can go in and untangle that knot, but in this case someone has gone in there first and they’ve used superglue to hold it together,” Miron said. “What we’ve discovered in that case is that glue.”
So the compound that could be used as superglue will secure the knot in the chain once it is untangled. If this is able to be done, scientists may be able to prevent the cell machinery from reaching the section of DNA to process it.
The results of this would be that it would prevent any cancer cells from growing and spreading. This is not the first time though that scientists have looked for a binder for the quadruplex, they have been at it for almost 30 years, but have yielded no results.
Miron’s discovery is still in its early stages in terms of having it commercially developed. Her research team has filed for a patent for it and it will take another year for her team to finalize the patent.
“We’re still, at this point, looking at developing the initial hit compounds to see, “Can we improve targeting to cancer cells? Can we improve entry into the cells through a membrane?”
Although this is a giant step for cancer, Miron still believes that it will take between 5 to 8 years to get the compound developed enough to use commercially.