New class of compounds can kill cancer cells with fewer side effects

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Washington, Nov 20 : A research team led by Indian origin scientist has identified a new class of compounds called phosphaplatins that can kill ovarian, testicular, head and neck cancer cells with potentially less toxicity than conventional drugs.

Rathindra Bose, a professor of biomedical sciences and chemistry and vice president for research at Ohio University suggests that the compounds could be less harmful than current cancer treatments on the market such as cisplatin and carboplatin because they don't penetrate the cell nucleus and attach to DNA.

Conventional drugs can interfere with the functions of the cell's enzymes, which lead to side effects such as hearing and hair loss and kidney dysfunction.

Although further studies are required, Bose believes that the compounds bind to the cancer cell surface membrane proteins and transmit a "death signal" to the interior of the cell.

"The findings suggest a paradigm shift in potential molecular targets for platinum anticancer drugs and in their strategic development," Bose added.

The new study shows that the phosphaplatins can kill ovarian cells at half of the dosage of conventional drugs, but are just as potent.

Unlike cisplatin, which can decompose quickly and create additional toxic side effects through the decomposition products, the new compounds show no signs of degradation after seven days.

The new study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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