Scientists hope that a new study will help them use boron oxide components for the treatment of cancer. Research by a team of scientists at universities across Turkey revealed that the use of this component was less harmful to healthy tissue while battling colon cancer cells. Scientists now plan to further prove their findings with animal and human trials.
Associate professor Özgür Albuz, a general surgery expert from Dr. Abdurrahman Yurtaslan Oncology Training and Research Hospital, is among those who conducted the research. Albuz told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Thursday that Turkey has about 75% of the boron reserves in the world. Boron is being used in diverse sectors, from the defense industry to the hygiene sector. Albuz said many studies on cancer support the use of boron, and it is also being used in drugs for treatment.
“In advanced stages of local cancers, cancer cells remaining in the tissue after the removal of the tumor increase the likelihood of recurrence,” Albuz said. “My starting point for this research was to find a way to completely eliminate remaining cancer cells. Even if you have done a perfect tumor removal surgery, this risk always exists. I thought about injecting a substance into these cells to kill them and joined other scientists to find such a substance. We found that boron is good for this purpose. It can react to a vast array of elements and substances, and boron oxide has the feature of soaking up water and adhering to the tissue,” he said.
Scientists analyzed boron oxide’s impact on both colorectal tumor cells and healthy fibroblast cells. They discovered that it was cytotoxic to tumor cells at a rate of 8.5% and at 35% for fibroblast cells. “Current methods kill healthy cells at a rate of 100%,” Albuz pointed out. More importantly, he added, the compound boron oxide is 10%-15% efficient in killing colon cancer cells through apoptosis or programmed cell death, a process for the removal of unwanted cells, like those caused by cancer. “Since it reacts to different molecules, the boron oxide compound can help in the development of better drugs in the fight against cancer. If it can be combined with other compounds via nanotechnology, it can be used to create a drug with fewer side effects and more efficiency,” he said.
Colon cancer is a largely preventable disease with changes in lifestyle and early diagnosis. Yet, it remains the third-most prevalent type of cancer after breast and lung cancer in Turkey.