Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

Biomedical researchers would like to be able to deliver chemicals directly to a cell nucleus-cancer therapy being one reason. UCLA chemist Fred Hawthorne may have discovered a chemical “roach motel” that provides entry to but no exit from the nucleus. He found the passageway while trying to get boron-rich compounds into cells in studies of a cancer treatment called boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT). In BNCT, boron atoms interact with neutron beams to create an unstable isotope that blows apart, as if the neutron had tripped a landmine inside the cell.

Hawthorne has designed novel, small molecules called nido-carboranyl oligomeric phosphate diesters-nido-OPDs-that carry boron into cell interiors more effectively than before. Although Hawthorne expected that the small nido-OPDs molecules would diffuse in and out of the nucleus, he found that they accumulated; once the molecules checked in, they didn’t check out. Most were still present in the nucleus 24 hours later, a finding that could help make BNCT a much more effective cancer treatment in the future.

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Tagged: Biomedicine

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me