Human magnetism, electronic fungus sniffers and heat-triggered tumor killers in this week's news
Targeting tumors with heat
By putting the heat on tumor cells, scientists may make anticancer drugs more effective and less toxic. To reduce the side effects that occur when cancer drugs poison healthy cells, researchers in Switzerland attached various heat-sensitive molecules to the chemotherapy drug chlorambucil. When tested on human cancer cells, one of the new heat-sensitive versions of the drug was not toxic at body temperature, but did its anticancer stuff on cells that were a few degrees warmer. The finding suggests that some drugs might be locally activated by heating only the area needing therapy, sparing other cells, the team reports in an upcoming Angewandte Chemie International Edition. —Rachel Ehrenberg
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