• Light Powered Molecules Penetrate Cells
  • Dr Robert Pal

News & Views

Light Powered Molecules Penetrate Cells

Oct 20 2017

A technique that has turned molecules into machines capable of drilling holes in the membranes of individual cells, including cancerous ones, shows promise for either bringing therapeutic agents into the cells or directly inducing the cells to die.

Dr Robert Pal at Durham University’s Department of Chemistry and Biophysical Sciences Institute thinks that nanomachines could prove to be effective against a range of cancers including those that resist currently available treatments.

He worked with researchers at Rice and North Carolina State universities in the USA to demonstrate in laboratory tests how rotors in single-molecule nanomachines can be activated by ultraviolet light to spin at two to three million rotations per second; test motors designed to target prostate cancer cells broke through their membranes from outside and killed them within one to three minutes of activation. 

“We are moving towards realising our ambition to be able to use light-activated nanomachines to target cancer cells such as those in breast tumours and skin melanomas, including those that are resistant to existing chemotherapy.” said Dr Pal a Royal Society Research Fellow.

“Once developed, this approach could provide a potential step change in non-invasive cancer treatment and greatly improve survival rates and patient welfare globally.”

Dr Pal collaborated with research teams in the USA led by Professor James Tour at Rice University in Houston, Texas, and Assistant Professor Gufeng Wang at North Carolina State University. Details of the study are published in the academic journal, Nature.


Digital Edition

Lab Asia 31.3 June 2024

June 2024

Chromatography Articles - Enhancing HPLC Field Service with fast-response, non-invasive flowmeters Mass Spectrometry & Spectroscopy Articles - UV-Vis and fluorescence spectroscopy illumina...

View all digital editions

Events

INTERPHEX Week

Jun 26 2024 Tokyo, Japan

Asia Labex

Jul 03 2024 Gandhinagar, India

EuCheMS Chemistry Congress

Jul 07 2024 Dublin, Ireland

HPLC 2024

Jul 20 2024 Denver, CO, USA

ICMGP 2024

Jul 21 2024 Cape Town, South Africa

View all events