Call it a small shake for man, but a giant leap for medicine. Chemists on the campus of the University of Central Florida are working on a new cure for cancer.
"We've developed a new agent which is an organic salt that can be injected or incubated with cells," said Kevin Belfield, PhD.
Dr. Belfield is the Chair of UCF's chemistry department. He's developed a new therapy that uses organic salt and light to kill cancer cells. The therapy is eight years in the making.
Researchers said the treatment could be very helpful in treating four types of cancer: melanoma, breast, colon, and prostate cancer. However, Dr. Belfield said the therapy should work on any tissue based cancer as long as one can access the cells with a laser.
Currently, one FDA approved option kills cancer using lasers, however, that therapy requires oxygen to work. Dr. Belfied's technique creates an imbalance in the cells even when oxygen isn't present.
PhD candidate Xling Yue showed FOX35 how the procedure works.
A form of organic salt is added to cancer cells. A laser is then shined on the infected cells. It changes the cells' make-up in about four hours.
"When the strong acid is generated it creates a ph imbalance in the cell that the cell can't recover from," said Dr. Belfied. "And the cell ends up dying."
The process is called "blubbing."
Dr. Belfield's technique leaves the nearby healthy cells intact.
Of course, more research is needed, along with funding. Dr. Belfied is seeking funding from the National Institutes of Health. He's hoping his researchers will be able to start clinical trials soon.
"It's a long haul between discovering something in the lab and clinical introduction," said Dr. Belfield. "But in principle, yes, this could be a radically new cancer treatment."