Kills Bugs and Can Possibly Help Fight Cancer: The Wonder Pesticide
When the word pesticide comes up, some related words such as destruction, poison, and pest extermination usually come to mind. But when you introduce a phrase such as “can possibly help fight cancer” into the mix, you might end up with an intriguing paradox. But apparently, one of Germany’s highly valued multinational chemical and pharmaceutical companies, Bayer, does not seem to think “bug killer” and “cancer blocker” are two totally contradictory concepts any longer.
In a fortuitous twist of fate, scientists found that the same system applied by one of the pesticides they developed to combat peanut- and cotton root-gnawing nematodes can be used on humans, but with a more healing rather than destructive effect. The pesticide, created to wipe out the pests that cause up to $100 billion in crop damages per year, kills the bugs by blocking the delivery of oxygen to worm cells. This data was shared to the Bayer scientists’ pharmaceutical colleagues, and the curative potential for using the same suffocating technique to possibly block the spread of cancer cells was also opened. Pretty soon, Bayer’s Berlin laboratories got busy.
A decade later, when peers Novartis AG, AstraZeneca Plc and Sanofi have given up on the enterprise, Bayer pushes onward, hopeful that the evolution of new technology and research tools such as gene sequencing can help open new doors for the research to finally bear fruit. If their venture eventually succeeds, then Bayer will have on their hands a multi-tasking wonder drug that can stifle the fatal spread of one of the most swiftly lethal forms of disease known to man.