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Study: Metal Implants May Reduce Chemotherapy Side Effects

Palladium activates chemotherapy drugs (February 13)

According to a report in Nature Communications, researchers at the University of Edinburgh in the U.K. have identified a possible way of treating tumors that would see doctors place harmless metal implants at the cancer site.

The discovery could make treatment more targeted than existing therapies, avoiding unwanted side effects, such as hair loss, tiredness and nausea. These effects occur when chemotherapy drugs carried in the blood kill healthy cells as well as cancer cells.

The researchers found that they could alter the chemical composition of commonly used chemotherapy drugs so that they become active only when they come into contact with a metal called palladium.

The investigators hope that by implanting small devices coated with palladium into patients’ tumors, the drugs would become activated only where they are needed, causing minimal damage to the rest of the body. The approach, however, will first need to be tested in animals before it can be studied in human subjects.

Source: Medical Xpress; February 13, 2014.

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