Nobel laureate Aziz Sancar has recently discovered a special molecule's ability to cross through blood-brain barrier, which makes it a "potential candidate for treating cancers of the brain."

Born in Mardin province in southeastern Türkiye, Sancar was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with Tomas Lindahl and Paul Modrich for their mechanistic studies in DNA repair.
Born in Mardin province in southeastern Türkiye, Sancar was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with Tomas Lindahl and Paul Modrich for their mechanistic studies in DNA repair. (Reuters)

A Nobel Prize-winning Turkish chemist has recently discovered that a special molecule can be used to help treat brain cancer. 

Aziz Sancar, whose study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday that the EdU molecule has been one of the most used chemicals in molecular biology since 2008. 

“I worked for 10 years over the DNA mechanism, which brought me the Nobel Prize," said Sancar, who was born in Türkiye but has lived and worked in the US for decades. 

He said that researchers started studies on the EdU molecule in January and discovered it kills the cells in February.

"We have done all the checks and have proven that it is certain," he said.

The study found that EdU's ability to cross the blood-brain barrier makes it a "potential candidate for treating cancers of the brain."

"Most drugs cannot cross from the blood to the brain. For example, the drug called cisplatin, which is used in the treatment of cancer patients, cannot cross through this barrier, so brain cancers cannot be treated with it. This EdU gets in easily (into the brain) with no problem," he said.

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Experiment on mice

The discovery will be tested first on mice and then on patients.

The experiments on mice would take two years, said Sancar.

At this stage, he sees the success rate of discovery in human treatment at 3 percent, Sancar said to cancer patients.

"My message is, be optimistic, try to do the best with the current possibilities."

Born in Mardin province in southeastern Türkiye, Sancar was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with Tomas Lindahl and Paul Modrich for their mechanistic studies in DNA repair.

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Source: AA