Blue light could become a big cancer killer by activating what could be a powerful platinum-based treatment. A research team led by the University of Warwick, with researchers at Ninewells Hospital Dundee and the University of Edinburgh, has discovered a new platinum-based light-activated compound that is up to 80 times more powerful than other platinum-based anti-cancer drugs. In addition, this compound is stable and much more targeted than similar treatments, and it is water-soluble, so the body can simply dissolve and flush it after use. The team had previously found a UV-activated platinum-based compound, but the narrowness of the UV wavelength would have limited its use. But the new compound, known as trans,trans,trans-[Pt(N3)2(OH)2(py)2], can be activated by visible blue or even green light. It was tested at the hospital on cultivated esophageal cancer cells. Once stimulated by blue light, the compound was highly effective, killing 50 percent of the cancer cells with a concentration of just 8.4 μmol per liter. The researchers are also beginning to examine the compound’s effectiveness against ovarian and liver cancer cells. The results of the current study were published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Vol. 49, Issue 47, pp. 8905-8908, Nov. 15, 2010.