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Fireflies help speed development of new drugs

The glow that fireflies are famous for, are due to a glow molecule present in their bodies. This glow molecule is now helping illuminate the effectiveness of new medicines and speed up the development of new drugs for various diseases like AIDS,// Alzheimer's, Cancer and others.

A study was carried out by researchers of the University of Michigan Health System who inserted the gene which is responsible for the firefly glow-producing molecule into mice with cancer. The researchers kept the molecule from producing the telltale glow until cells started to die in response to cancer treatment given to the mice. Researchers then used a highly sensitive camera to detect the glow in the mice as the cancer cells were destroyed by the drugs which was being tested.

Researchers concluded that the results of the study indicated that the glow molecule could aid in faster testing of new drugs for cancer, blood diseases, autoimmune disorders, heart attack damage and others, as these molecules could provide real time information about the effectiveness of new medications. Apart from the above use, these molecules could also be used to monitor the various cell processes.


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