Platinum and the fight against cancer


FOR years scientists have been looking to metals such as gold, silver and mercury to combat disease. Now they are harnessing the healing properties of one of the most precious - platinum - in the battle against cancer.

Platinum compounds have already been found to be effective in the treatment of testicular cancer. They helped to save the life of last year's Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong, and Grand National winning jockey and trainer, Bob Champion, was given a drug containing platinum when he was fighting the same disease.

The one-time killer is now 85pc curable. Buoyed up by success in this field, experts in Edinburgh are about to begin trials with the metal on patients with inoperable stomach cancer in the hope that they will reap similar results.

Platinum compounds, when dissolved and injected into the body are known to attach themselves to the DNA in some cancer cells and destroy them. A drug