Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Device may limit chemotherapy side-effects

Cancer tumour
Image caption Chemotherapy is used to treat cancerous tumours

Scientists have developed a micro device that could be used to limit the side-effects of chemotherapy in cancer patients.

Edinburgh University has created the unit, which triggers reactions in cells, enabling cancer drugs to be activated at the site of a tumour.

Scientists believe it could protect cancer patients from hair loss, sickness and weakened immune systems.

The device uses tiny amounts of the metal palladium to trigger reactions.

The metal particles are covered in a coating to allow it to penetrate the cells without causing damage.

Experiments have shown specific cell functions could be activated without any impact on normal cell activity such as producing proteins.

It is hoped further work will see the technique used to activate cancer drugs at the site of the tumour.

Research leaders stressed the work, carried out with the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, is at an early stage.

Professor Mark Bradley of Edinburgh University's school of chemistry, who led the research, said: "This technique potentially gives us the ability to deliver drugs to exactly where they are needed, for example in targeting cancerous tumours."

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