There is a new type of cancer drug being investigated. They are called carboranes:
"Over the past decade, we have seen an increasing interest in using carboranes in drug design," said Mark W. Lee Jr., assistant professor of chemistry in College of Arts and Science. "Carboranes are clusters of three elements — boron, carbon and hydrogen. Carboranes don't fight cancer directly, but they aid in the ability of a drug to bind more tightly to its target, creating a more potent mechanism for destroying the cancer cells.
In the study, Lee and his research team
used carboranes to build new drugs designed to shut off a cancer cell's energy production, which is vital for the cell's survival. All cells produce energy through complex, multi-step processes. The key to an effective drug is targeting the process that cancer cells depend on more than healthy cells. By increasing the binding strength of a drug, a smaller dose is required, minimizing side effects and increasing the effectiveness of the therapy. With carboranes, Lee found that the drug is able to bind 10 times more powerfully.
"The reason why these drugs bind stronger to their target is
because carboranes exploit a unique and very strong form of hydrogen
bonding, the strongest form of interactions for drugs," Lee said."
They have been tested on breast, lung and colon cancer and are very successful. They are also being tested on other forms of cancer. What is significant about their strength is that you can take a smaller dose which will have a stronger effect but will have fewer side effects. I'm all for fewer side effects in life.
Of course more research is needed so it won't be around anytime soon. But I still call this a significant advance.