Researchers determined a molecule known as Amphinase, found in the egg cells of the Northern Leopard frog, recognizes the sugary coating found on a tumor cell. It binds to the cell's surface before invading the cell and inactivating the RNA it contains, causing the tumor to die.
Scientists at Britain's University of Bath and the Alfacell Corp. in the United States have produced the first complete analysis of the structural and chemical properties of that molecule.
"It is rather like Mother Nature's very own magic bullet for recognizing and destroying cancer cells," said Professor Ravi Acharya of Bath University. "It is highly specific at hunting and destroying tumor cells, is easily synthesized ... and offers great hope as a therapeutic treatment of the future."
However, Acharya noted Amphinase is in the very early stages of development, so it's likely to be several years before it is used as a treatment.
The research by Acharya, Umesh Singh and Daniel Holloway appears in the Journal of Molecular Biology.
Campus cop fatally shoots Texas student during traffic stop
Police: Sword-wielding man demanded free tacos