Results from a recent study shows that nanoparticles gotten from tea leaves was able to destroy lung cancer. These tiny nanoparticles, called “quantum dots,” are 400 times thinner than a human hair, and producing them from tea leaves is safe and non-toxic.
Nanotechnology seems promising when it comes to targeting cancer, making more researchers for focus on it. A new study published recently was able to show that if anti-cancer drugs are loaded into nanoparticles and delivered to tumors directly, it can be used to treat endometrial cancer.
Now, scientists are turning to a type of nanoparticle for help in combating cancer.
Scientists have now created quantum dots from tea leaf extract and used them to stop lung cancer cells from growing. The study was led by researcher Sudhagar Pitchaimuthu — a Ser Cymru-II Rising Star Fellow at Swansea University’s College of Engineering in the United Kingdom.
The findings were published in the journal Applied Nano Materials.
Quantum dots are usually created chemically, and they have already been used in computers and TV screens.
However, this chemical production of quantum dots is often complicated and expensive, and it can have a range of adverse toxic effects. So, the researchers wanted to explore an alternative that is plant-based and non-toxic.
The researchers mixed tea leaf extract with cadmium sulfate and sodium sulfide. Quantum dots were formed after leaving the substance to incubate.
Then, the quantum dots was applied to cancer cells. They found that the anti-cancer properties of the nanoparticles were comparable to those of the widely used chemotherapy drug cisplatin.
The study revealed that quantum dots penetrated the nanopores of the cancer cells, destroying up to 80 percent of them.
Pitchaimuthu comments on the findings, saying, “Our research confirmed previous evidence that tea leaf extract can be a non-toxic alternative to making quantum dots using chemicals.”
Sudhagar Pitchaimuthu concludes;
“The real surprise, however, was that the dots actively inhibited the growth of the lung cancer cells. We hadn’t been expecting this. Quantum dots are therefore a very promising avenue to explore for developing new cancer treatments.”
“We want to investigate,” he continues, “the role of tea leaf extract in cancer cell imaging, and the interface between quantum dots and the cancer cell,” Sudhagar Pitchaimuthu stated.