In this health video learn how scientists are shedding light on a new way to zero-in on cancer without destroying other cells. It's a discovery that could change how we battle cancer.
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Jennifer Matthews: When Jonathan Lopez was a little boy, he watched his grandfather fight a losing battle with cancer. Jonathan Lopez: I just didn't understand how can this happen. How am I not going to see Grandpa anymore? Jennifer Matthews: In this lab, Dr. Igor Alabugin is investigating a new weapon against cancer. It's a two part process that triggers damaged cells to self-destruct. Igor Alabugin: And if you can apply that to cancer cells, that would be a way to kill cancer. Jennifer Matthews: The DNA in our cells has two strands; Break one, and it can repair itself. Break both, and it can't survive. The problem, drugs that can kill cancer cells often attack the healthy cells too. Igor Alabugin: What we wanted to do is we wanted to design molecules that only work at the right place at the right time. Jennifer Matthews: They discovered a group of molecules called lysine conjugates. Activated by a special kind of light, these molecules target cancer cells. They can identify a damaged spot in one strand of the DNA, then induce breakage in the other. The result, apoptosis, the cancer cells die. Igor Alabugin: They start to shrink. They kill themselves. They commit suicide. Jennifer Matthews: In lab tests on human kidney cancer cells, their cancer-killing success rate was 90%. Researchers hope one day, this lysine-light combination could be used to treat tumors and other cancers without surgery. It's no wonder Jonathan Lopez wanted to be part of this research team. For him, it's personal. Jonathan Lopez: I hope the research we do can really help other people and not make them go through what I had to go through. Jennifer Matthews: Research that could be on its way to becoming medicines' next big thing. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.
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