Malaria Protein Can Fight Against Cancer

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Two Shots, One Arrow

Scientists from the University of Copenhagen and University of British Columbia have accidentally found a cure for cancer while they were searching for a way to protect pregnant women from malaria that could cause complications because it attacks the placenta.

Researchers during their research figured out that the carbohydrate which the malaria parasite attaches itself to in the placenta in pregnant women is identical to the carbohydrate found in cancer cells. The carbohydrate ensures that the placenta grows quickly. Researchers also detailed how carbohydrates serve the same function in tumours wherein the malaria parasites attach to the cancerous cells killing them in the process. Hence they realised that carbohydrates could act as anti-cancer drugs.

A malaria protein VAR2CSA in particular could carry anti-cancer drugs to tumours effectively. The team during experiments tested thousands of samples from brain tumours to blood cancer wherein the protein effectively targeted more than 90% of all types of tumour. Scientists aim to test these drugs on humans within four years.


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