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Metal-based cancer treatment in development, say scientists

University of Leeds

Researchers have claimed that new drugs derived from metals could be an effective alternative if immunity to other cancer treatments develops in patients.

Cisplatin, a highly effective testicular cancer drug that has been in use for over 30 years, is metal-based and researchers at the Universities of Leeds and Warwick have been studying whether other metals could be used in the same way.

Dr Patrick McGowan, one of the lead authors from the University of Leeds, claimed that significant progress had been made during testing.

He explained: "Ruthenium and Osmium compounds are showing very high levels of activity against ovarian cancer."

These elements, which are found in the same section of the periodic table as gold and platinum, could now be developed as a form of cancer treatment to be offered to patients who become immune to an existing treatment such as cisplatin.

Recent research at St Jude Children's Research Hospital indicated that a chromosome in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia seems to combine with another mutation in order to develop cancerous cells in the body.

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Cancer treatment news : 20 October 2009