An asteroid based metal can cure and destroy cancer cells


Metal from the dinosaur killing asteroid cure and destroys cancer cells

A metal from the dinosaur killing asteroid that can target and destroys cancer cells. An international research team demonstrated that the world’s second densest metal, iridium, can be used to kill cancer cells by filling them with a deadly version of oxygen, without harming healthy tissue.

Photochemotherapy using laser light to target cancer is fast emerging as a possible, effective and non-invasive treatment. Nowadays, patients attracting increasingly resistant to traditional therapies. So, it is essential to establish new pathways like this for fighting the disease.

According to researchers, a shining visible laser light triggered onto the cancerous area and it reaches the light-reactive coating of the compound that activates the metal to start filling the cancer with oxygen molecules.

After completing of successful lab experiments, they also proved that the method is safe to healthy cells by conducting the treatment of non-cancerous tissue and finding it had no effect.

Iridium compound

Moreover, the researchers used an ultra-high-resolution mass spectrometry gain an unknown view of the proteins within the cancer cells allow them to determine precisely which proteins attack by the organic-iridium compound.


However, after deeply studying, the iridium compound damages the proteins for heat shock stress, and glucose metabolism, both are key molecules in cancer.

Cookson Chiu, a postgraduate researcher in the Warwick’s Department of Chemistry, said, this project is a leap forward in understanding how these new iridium-based anti-cancer compounds are attacking cancer cells, introducing different mechanisms of action, to get around the resistance issue and tackle cancer from a different angle.

Currently, more than 50% of cancer chemotherapies the metal platinum is used in. Now, iridium provides new targeted drugs attack cancer cells in new ways and combat resistance.

Iridium first discovered in 1803, it is the world’s most corrosion-resistant metal. It comes from the same family as platinum, and its melting point is more than 2400° Celsius.

However, the large amounts of iridium discovered in the Earth’s crust from nearly 66 million years ago. The metal came to this planet with an asteroid which caused the death of the dinosaurs.

More information: [WARWICK]

Journal: [Angewandte Chemie]