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New fluorophores could help fight cancer

New fluorophores may help fight cancer

Scientists in the Urals have been working on the synthesis of fluorophores for more than six years. Credit: Credit: UrFU

Scientists from the Ural Federal University and the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences have created new fluorescent chemical compounds (fluorophores) for photodynamic therapy of cancerous tumors, the latest method of cancer treatment. The compound is simultaneously suitable for the diagnosis of tumor processes by staining the affected tissues and their further treatment by destroying tumor cells without damage to healthy cells. The results of the primary studies have been published in the Dyes and pigments log.

The synthesis of these fluorophores is characterized by low cost, due to the availability of all derivatives in the composition, as well as the absence of impurities that can lead to side effects. The effectiveness of the fluorophore was tested on HeLa cells used as a model for cervical cancer. Now scientists are testing how the new compound interacts with other types of cancer cells.

Fluorophores are chemical compounds that emit visible light (photoluminescence) when exposed to ultraviolet or visible light. They can spread through biological tissues and stain cells prone to inflammatory processes. For example, a new compound interacts with biomolecules of body tissues and, under UV or visible irradiation, stains areas where the tumor growth process takes place. This makes it possible to determine the size of the tumor in the body and delineate its boundaries. During the experiments, scientists found that the new fluorophore performs a double function: it not only stains diseased areas, but also begins to destroy them.

New fluorophores may help fight cancer

New compound interacts with biomolecules of body tissues. Credit: Credit: UrFU

“Initially, we only examined the color properties of the compound,” said Grigory Zyryanov, study co-author and professor in UrFU’s Department of Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry. “The compound can build up in certain parts of the cell – the cell membrane and the reticulum (an intracellular organelle responsible for protein folding), and under ultraviolet or visible irradiation highlight the infected areas in bright green. However, it turned out that the fluorophore then acts as a photosensitizer.

That is, under the influence of optical irradiation, it begins to interact with the surrounding cellular environment (oxygen, water, etc.) and generates free radicals, the so-called reactive oxygen species. These active particles begin chemical interactions with affected cells starting with their destruction, while virtually not affecting the healthy. This is called photodynamic therapy, it is a new promising method of cancer treatment with high efficiency and minimal side effects.”

Scientists using the methods of heterocyclic chemistry created two experimental samples. Chemists synthesized a fluorophore based on naphtoxazole, an oxazole derivative used in the synthesis of medicinal and biochemical preparations, and a naphthalene fragment used as a platform and so-called antenna for more efficient observation of optical irradiation by a molecule. In addition, chemists added fragments of pyrene and anthracene, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons with a high fluorescence response, that is, a bright glow, to the compound. The compound containing pyrene showed the highest fluorescent and anti-cancer activity.

“Pyrenes are very commonly used for bioimaging, anthracenes are less common,” says Grigory Zyryanov. “These compounds are very promising for many reasons, among which we have been able to show that the pyrene-containing compound starts to glow even when irradiated with visible light, and this is visible even with the naked eye. This is very useful, including, for example, for surgical interventions, when it is still needed in the treatment.”

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More information:
Nataliya V. Slovesnova et al, Synthesis of novel water-soluble polyarene-substituted naphtho[1,2-d]oxazole-based fluorophores as fluorescent dyes and biological photosensitizers, Dyes and pigments (2022). DOI: 10.116/j.dyepig.2022.110410

Provided by Ural Federal University

Quote: New Fluorophores May Help Fight Cancer (June 2022, June 27) Retrieved June 27, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-fluorophores-cancer.html

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