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Wednesday, September 9, 1998 Published at 18:38 GMT 19:38 UK


Silver and gold bring health and wealth

Gold and silver compounds may help in the fight against cancer

Silver and gold could be more valuable than previously thought, according to new research into cancer treatment.

Researchers in New Zealand and Australia have found that drugs made from gold and silver compounds can kill ovarian cancer cells in mice.

The positively-charged drugs are thought to break down the protein energy force, known as the mitochondrial membrane, which surrounds the cancer cells.

The protein membrane is more highly charged in cancer cells than in normal cells.

The ovarian cells did not respond to a common cancer treatment called cisplatin, which has no charge and works on DNA.

Individual attack

The New Scientist, which publishes details of the research by Susan Berners-Price at Griffith University in Brisbane and Mark McKeage at the University of Auckland, says the side effects of chemotherapy are often caused by the inability of drugs to attack individual cancer cells.

It believes the gold and silver compound treatment could offer a way forward which may avoid the worst of the side effects, such as nausea.

Berners-Price believes the strength or weakness of the compounds can be altered to ensure they are the right level to attack individual cells.

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