Asteroid that killed dinosaurs could help in saving humans from cancer

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Cancer killing metal on Earth wiped out Dinosaurs: Report
Cancer killing metal on Earth wiped out Dinosaurs: Report

New Delhi : Around 65 million years ago, a cancer killing metal - iridium - came on Earth via 10 km long asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs from the planet.

Researchers from the UK and China have found that iridium - a rare metal delivered to Earth by the asteroid - can be very helpful in curing cancer disease.

Laser-based techniques are emerging as viable treatments for cancer, targeting tumours far more precisely than the shotgun blast of radiation and chemotherapy. Researchers from the University of Warwick in the UK and Sun Yat-Sen University in China have found that laser light can turn iridium into an effective cancer killer, the reported.

The researchers tested it on a lab grown lung cancer tumour and found out that it can kill it without providing any harm to the healthy cells of the body.

Further study found that the compound was effective as it managed to penetrate every layer of the tumour.

Iridium is very rare to be found on Earth, but the scientists have managed to find a mass in the Chicxulub crater, an impact crater buried underneath the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, which is often associated with the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.

"The precious metal platinum is already used in more than 50 per cent of cancer chemotherapies," says Peter Sadler, lead author of the study. "The potential of other precious metals such as iridium to provide new targeted drugs which attack cancer cells in completely new ways and combat resistance, and which can be used safely with the minimum of side-effects, is now being explored. It's certainly now time to try to make good medical use of the iridium delivered to us by an asteroid 66 million years ago!"

(with IANS inputs)

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