A team of scientists from the University of Georgia successfully attacked cancer cells with sodium chloride, that is, ordinary table salt, Advanced Materials reports.
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Previously, ordinary electrolytes, given sodium chloride, were not taken into account – it was believed that their nanoparticles quickly dissolve in water and behave the same as their constituent salts. However, researchers from Georgia decided to refute this prejudice and demonstrated that salt particles are actually toxic to cancer cells.
As experts explained, sodium chloride nanoparticles penetrate cells through endocytosis and are separated there into sodium and chloride ions, thereby breaking the plasma membrane and destroying the cell. This is due to the fact that the released molecules give a signal to the immune system, notifying about tissue damage, after which the body begins to fight with pathogens.
One of the authors of the study is chemist Jin Xie / Photo: UGA
The study was conducted on mice in which tumors were injected with sodium salt nanoparticles. Rodents were not harmed during the experiment because this method was found to be safe for healthy cells through relatively low sodium levels.
Compared with the control group of mice, tumor growth in rodents treated with sodium chloride slowed down by 66%. Scientists assured that high doses of salt particles did not lead to systematic toxicity.
With a relatively short half-life in aqueous solutions, sodium chloride fractions are best suited for localized rather than systemic therapy. Treatment with this method will cause immediate and immune death of cancer cells. After processing, the nanoparticles are converted into salts, which merge with the body’s liquid system and do not cause systematic or cumulative toxicity,
– said one of the authors of the study, chemist Jin Xie.
Researchers hope their method is successfully used to treat cancer of the bladder, prostate, liver, head and neck.
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