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'Smart bomb' to directly target cancer and 'leave healthy ones alone'

June 30, 2012 - London

Scientists have invented a "smart bomb" that boosts the potency of drugs against cancer.

The tiny device, which is being developed by British scientists at the University of Edinburgh, carries minute amounts of the metal palladium encased in a harmless capsule.

The "smart bomb" treatment delivers powerful poisons directly to cancer cells while leaving healthy ones alone.

"Palladium is potentially very toxic but it is the most useful catalyst in any chemistry lab. We have developed a 'ship' to carry the palladium but not allow it to be freed to do harm," the Daily Express quoted Dr Asier Unciti-Broceta, of Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre, as saying.

"Once in place, the palladium is able to trigger the activity of a drug. We can control what it does very, very specifically," Unciti-Broceta said.

According to Professor Mark Bradley of Edinburgh University, who led the research, the technique "should enable powerful drugs to be made directly where they are needed."

The study has been published in the journal Nature Protocol.


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