Researchers offer cancer therapy hope

Chemotherapy treatment with reduced side effects could be a step closer, thanks to a development by Edinburgh University scientists.

Researchers have created a tiny device that triggers reactions in cells and could enable cancer drugs to be activated at the site of a tumour.

Targeting drug treatment where it is needed could safeguard the rest of the patient's body and help curb side effects associated with chemotherapy such as hair loss, sickness and weakened immunity.

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The discovery could pave the way for delivering therapies to where they are needed in the body, scientists say, and could also be used to deliver dyes to organs for diagnostic tests.

Professor Mark Bradley of the 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."

The study, which was published in Nature Chemistry, was carried out in collaboration with the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

It was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Royal Society, the Government of Malaysia and the Swiss National Science Foundation.