Scientists at a research institute in Sweden have found a new tool that might help humans in fighting cancer – a set of small molecules that stops the selenium-containing enzyme in the human body.

Cancer treatment has always been a struggle for humans and the methods have always evolved, still, thousands lose their lives because of the fatal disease that cancer is and even more are living with it. Recently, a new study published in the ‘Science Translational Medicine’ has given hope. The researchers of Karolinska Institute in Sweden observed that a set of small molecules that restrain a selenium- containing enzyme that causes cancer. When these molecules were tested on mice, they observed a rapid tumour killing effects and further study indicated that the treatment could be extended to treat cancer in humans too.

Cancer cells are abnormal cells that grow and invade the actual cells and continuously spread in other body parts. On the other hand, the tiny selenium-rich molecules are working because it is a chemical which is an essential micronutrient for cells. These selenium molecules contrast with benign tumours, which do not spread to other parts of the body. So a selenium-containing enzyme, called TrxR1, can be used to support the growth of various cells and protect them from oxidative stress – which is basically an imbalance between productions of free radicals.

However, there are 200 different types of cancers, among which, some may not be affected or benefited by TrxR1 molecules. During the research, scientists carried out tests on 400,000 different kinds of molecules to find which could be controlled by the anti-cancer treatment and found three different types which proved to be active as anticancer medicines. So far, the TrxR1 has effectively treated over 60 different types of cancer cells under laboratory conditions and tests are still undergoing -giving hope to millions still suffering with the fatal disease.