A doctoral student in Ontario has made a breakthrough discovery that has the potential to prevent the proliferation of cancer cells.
A student in Queen’s Department of Chemistry, Caitlin Miron has identified a chemical compound that can “turn off” cancer cells to prevent them from spreading.
During an internship at the European Institute of Chemistry and Biology in Bordeaux, France, Ms. Miron discovered a compound adapted to the four-stranded DNA structure, G-quadruplex, associated with the development of cancer or other diseases, reported CTV News.
“It’s incredibly exciting because researchers have been trying to identify DNA binders with properties like this one for more than two decades,” Miron said in a statement. “It’s so new, we’ve had to devise our own techniques for analysing and testing it.”
To explain her discovery, the scientist compares a strand of DNA to a necklace with beads that slide until they meet a knot. Beads represent cells that slide along the DNA strand.
To protect the knot and prevent cancer cells from reaching other sections of the DNA strand, Ms. Miron discovered a new super-glue-like compound. Those previously discovered did not have the same potential and were not as well adapted to the four-stranded DNA structure.
“I like doing research that makes a difference to someone. Some day this could actually make someone’s life better.
“There’s definitely a lot of potential. It’s very promising. I’ve been excited about this for two years,” Miron said, as quoted by The Whig.
Scientists have been looking for a ligand adapted to G-quadruplex for 20 to 30 years to prevent the growth and proliferation of cancer cells.
Ms. Biron’s discovery is still very recent. His team has just completed an application for a patent. The student believes that the marketing of her compound could take five to eight years.