Alternative medicine experts have, for years, talked about the benefits different compounds containing silver can have on the human body; new research says that silver may also combat cancer cells.
Lab tests have shown that silver is as effective as the leading chemotherapy drug in the treatment of cancers and may have fewer side effects. Results from the study at the University of Leeds, published in Dalton Transactions, show that particular silver compounds are as toxic to cancer cells as the platinum-based drug Cisplatin, which is widely used to treat a range of cancers.
The crucial difference between silver and Cisplatin, though, is that silver is thought to be much less toxic to healthy human cells and, in some cases, can be beneficial. Silver is currently used for its antiseptic and antibiotic properties in bandages, wound dressings and water purification filters in many countries.
Dr. Charlotte Willans, who is leading the study, said: “As many are unfortunately aware, chemotherapy can be a very grueling experience for the patient. Finding effective, yet non-toxic drugs is an ongoing problem, but these preliminary results are an important step in solving it. Our research has looked at the structure which surrounds a central silver atom. This ‘shrubbery’ is what determines how reactive it is and what it will interact with. Our research has used different types of these ligands to see which is the most effective against cancer cells.”