Scientists might have accidentally made a huge step forward in the search for a cure for cancer — discovering unexpectedly that a malaria protein could be an effective weapon against the disease.
Danish researchers were hunting for a way of protecting pregnant women from malaria, which can cause huge problems because it attacks the placenta. But they found at the same time that armed malaria proteins can attack cancer, too — an approach which could be a step towards curing the disease.
Scientists have combined the bit of protein that the malaria vaccine uses to bury into cells and combined it with a toxin — that can then bury into cancer cells and release the toxin, killing them off.
The scientists have found that in both cases the malria protein attaches itself to the same carbohydrate. It is the similarities between those two things that the cure could exploit.