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Metal Detectors
15 April 2017

Metal Detectors

Cisplatin – a chemotherapy drug based on the metal platinum – has been used to treat cancers for many years; however, resistance to platinum has become an issue, prompting researchers to look for other metal compounds. Researchers tracked the activity of different compounds based on the metals zinc (top left), osmium (top right) and calcium (bottom) in ovarian cancer cells using x-ray fluorescence. Colours shown represent the compound’s concentration – white being strongest. The team could see that one, called organo-osmium FY26, made its way into and was concentrated in the cell’s energy-producing mitochondria (highlighted in red top right), killing the cell from the inside. Organo-osmium FY26 is fifty times more active and also more selective than cisplatin, making it a promising candidate for a new cancer treatment.

Written by Katie Panteli

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (the new name for the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre) the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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