A highly effective cancer treatment has been developed by Matthew Gdovin, an associate professor in the UTSA Department of Biology. The treatment involves the injection of a chemical compound, nitrobenzaldehyde, into tumor cells and inducing their death.
“Even though there are many different types of cancers, the one thing they have in common is their susceptibility to this induced cell suicide,” said Gdovin. “All forms of cancer attempt to make cells acidic on the outside as a way to attract the attention of a blood vessel," he said. Once the cancer cells attach to a blood vessel, they use it to grow the tumor.
This treatment sees the nitrobenzaldehyde injected into cancerous cells. From there, ultraviolet light is shined onto the cells, causing them to become more acidic. Eventually, they become so acidic that they destroy themselves. The cancer is decimated, while the healthy cells are left untouched.
When treated, 95% of the cancer cells are destroyed, mice have tumor growth halted and their chance of survival was doubled.
Gdovin also shows that this treatment can help destroy cancer in hard-to-reach areas, like the brain stem.
“There are so many types of cancer for which the prognosis is very poor,” he said. “We’re thinking outside the box and finding a way to do what for many people is simply impossible.”