What Killed Dinosaurs Will Save Mankind?

Cancer Cells Get Destroyed by Iridium, The Major Metal Component of The Legendary Asteroid

We all heard about the theory that around 65.5 million years ago an asteroid hit the Earth; a group of scientists thinks that this was the cause of the dinosaurs’ extinction. Was it really? We cannot be certain. However, it is proven that there is a special layer in the Earth’s crust that contains a very rare metal, called iridium, that very possibly originates from the asteroid.

How do they know? Iridium’s concentration in the Earth’s crust is extremely low – approximately a thousand times lower than gold’s – most of it is found in a certain layer that is 65.5 million years old.  

The famous asteroid hit the Earth 65.5 million years ago. Source: nrc.nl

So, we have this mostly meteorite-originated, very dense metal, Iridium. Amazingly, when scientists went into a deep analysis of it, they found that its molecules can enter the nucleus of cancer cells when hit by a light beam, creating nearby oxygen molecules and make them reactive. In short, cancer cells get destroyed. It’s a huge question of the future whether this process can be adapted into human medicine, but it is no doubt the idea would be the most awesome way to cure cancer.   

Professor Peter Sadler from Warwick University explains that the oxidizing process created by the light expose is much more harmful to cancer cells that grow and divide much faster than to others. Therefore, he and his team believe that it possibly can be used to kill tumors without harming the healthy cells around. But how could iridium get into human cancer cells? Professor Sadler has the answer on this, as well: there is a blood protein called albumin that is on one side attracted to cancer cells, on the other side it can penetrate their nucleus, even when carrying a small payload of iridium. What an amazing coincidence.

Albumin Molecule. Source: fineartamerica.com

Furthermore, the iridium complex has an advantage compared to other previous photosensitizers that it targets straight the cell nucleus instead of other, less important parts of the cell, and that it is highly luminescent. The latter enables scientists not only to assume what is happening amongst the cells but to watch in real time as the molecules enter the cancer cells and destroy them.

As a next step further trails will be needed, first on animals and when results are safe and positive, then on humans. So the way is long, but the potential is promising.

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