In a search to create a vaccine that protects pregnant women against malaria, researchers might have accidentally found a cure for cancer instead.
Using cell cultures and mice with multiple diseases, malaria proteins were injected with a toxin that somehow started absorbing cancer cells before releasing the toxins, thus destroying the cells, according to Fox News.
"The placenta is an organ, which within a few months grows from only few cells into an organ weighing approximately 2 pounds, and it provides the embryo with oxygen and nourishment in a relatively foreign environment. In a manner of speaking, tumors do much the same - they grow aggressively in a relatively foreign environment," said Ali Salanti, study author, according to HNGN's sister site, Science World Report.
The study also found out that the cancer-killing toxin in the malaria protein was 90 percent effective in destroying various cancer diseases. Six mice that had metastatic bone cancer were injected with the combination and five stayed alive, in comparison with the control group that all died. Two out of six mice also injected with the toxin-laden malaria protein were able to completely eliminate prostate cancer.
"We have separated the malaria protein, which attaches itself to the carbohydrate and then added a toxin. By conducting tests on mice, we have been able to show that the combination of protein and toxin kill the cancer cells," said Mads Daugaard, a cancer researcher at Canada's University of British Columbia and one of the scientists that worked on the research, Independent reports.