Scientists kill brain cancer with quantum therapy in a first

Scientists propose a spray that will make the most aggressive brain cancer tumors commit suicide. This spray contains bio-nanoantennae, special molecules that can alter cells at the quantum level.
Rupendra Brahambhatt
Cancer detection and screening as a treatment
Cancer detection and screening as a treatment


Scientists at the University of Nottingham have devised a unique spray treatment method to cure glioblastoma, a highly aggressive brain cancer that annually kills over 10,000 people in the US.

They also claim this is the first-ever quantum therapeutic approach that shows cancer can be eliminated via quantum signaling, i.e., by making changes in the biology of cells at a quantum level.  

The treatment involves using bio-nanoantennas, gold nanoparticles coated with redox-active molecules. The researchers claim to kill glioblastoma cells by spraying bio-nanoantennae at tumor sites and applying an electric field. 

“We refer to them as 'bio-nanoantennae' because they convert an electric field into a biological signaling event, which then regulates cell functions such as apoptosis (programmed cell death),” Frankie Rawson, one of the study authors and a research fellow at the University of Nottingham, told Interesting Engineering.

Electrically charged bio-nanoantennae eliminate glioblastoma 

Sadly, most people with glioblastoma don't live beyond eight months after diagnosis, and the five-year survival rate is only 6.8 percent, according to the researchers.

This is because of their invasive nature. Glioblastoma cells infiltrate surrounding brain tissue, making complete removal during surgery nearly impossible. Even with aggressive treatments, the tumor always recurs. 

In their study, the researchers suggest that when bio-nano antennae are administered at the tumor surgical resection site via spraying, they are readily absorbed by the cancer cells. When the researchers apply an electric field, it leads to a quantum electron transfer at the surface of the bio-nanoantennae-bound protein, cytochrome c.

This single electron transfer alters the protein's redox state, signaling cancer cells to activate programmed cell death. The cancer cells start dying on their own, preventing tumor regrowth and potentially extending life. 

Also, only cancer cells are killed during this process, and no other brain cells are harmed. “We don’t fully understand why bio-nanoantennae in cancer cells make them sensitive to electric fields, yet normal brain cells are relatively insensitive,” Rawson said. 

“Our data indicates that cancer cells have altered expression of genetic pathways related to acute stress response, relative to normal cells. As changes to an electric field within cells represent an acute stress response, this may be a clue as to why cancer cells are killed, but not normal cells,” he added.

Bio-nanoantennae represent the rise of quantum therapies 

The researchers suggest that for decades, there has been evidence suggesting that quantum mechanical events play a crucial role in specific biological processes that underlie the functioning of organisms. 

“We had a working hypothesis that developing technologies to control these events could enable us to manipulate cell behavior. With the outcomes of this work, that hypothesis has become a reality,” Rawson told Interesting Engineering

The bio-nanoantennae treatment is more interesting because this process represents a fusion of medicine and quantum bioelectronics. 

The process operates through a phenomenon known as quantum tunneling of electrons, called Quantum Biological Electron Transfer (QBET). 

The redox switching of cytochrome C, activated through QBET, signals cancer cells to initiate cell death pathways in cancer cells by one-electron transfer process at cytochrome C. 

This process demonstrates that scientists can use targeted electromagnetic fields to trigger a quantum mechanical phenomenon within biology.

“As the first-ever possible cancer treatment to harness quantum mechanical effects, this may represent the world's first quantum therapy, ushering in a new era of treatment paradigms,” Rawson added. . This highly aggressive brain cancer

The study is published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

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