Cancer therapies have been making huge strides in recent years. Examples of such innovations are the anticancer properties of a Himalayan parasite fungus, currently under the scrutiny of scientists. One of these treatments, photodynamic therapy, induces an atypical contra-indication: it triggers a “night superview” in patients.
A number of patients who received this innovative anticancer therapy, in low light conditions, claimed to have seen shapes and contours in the dark.
An international research team discovered the origin of this strange phenomenon, ascribing it to the interaction between rhodopsin, a photosensitive protein located in the retina of the eyes, and the chlorine compound e6, a fundamental excipient of photodynamic anticancer therapy
The components of the visible spectrum of light induce the separation between the retinal and the rhodopsin. The latter is converted into an electrical signal, is deciphered by the brain to allow us to see. During the night phase, it is not possible to count on a sufficient amount of visible light and the vision is less.
Through anticancer therapy, another chemical mechanism has been discovered unintentionally, which seems to be ‘enabled’ vision. It has emerged that the retina, by injection of chlorine and subjected to infrared light, undergoes chemical processes similar to those triggered by visible light.
“This explains the increase in night-time visual acuity,” said Antonio Monari, chemist at the University of Lorraine in France, and continuing, “However, we did not know exactly how rodopsin and its active retinal group interacted with chlorine. It is this mechanism that we have now been able to clarify through molecular simulation.”
Thanks to a series of molecular-scale simulations, researchers have verified the chemical interaction model caused by infrared radiation.
“For our simulation, we have placed a virtual rhodopsin protein inserted into its lipid membrane in contact with several molecules of chlorine and water, or several tens of thousands of atoms,” Monari specifies.
The chlorine compound e6 chamber infrared radiation and reacts with the ocular oxygen, making it more reactive. This reactive oxygen has excellent anticancer abilities and, as a secondary effect, reacts with the retina increasing the night vision of the subject.
Unveiled the arcane hidden in the process, researchers will be able to remedy its manifestation in patients undergoing photodynamic therapy. This does not mean that the phenomenon, although it is now a side effect, could be used in the future to treat eye diseases, such as blindness and luminous hypersensitivity.
However, the researchers warn that it is absolutely not advisable to try to use e6 chlorine to obtain the ability of the night view. Do not try to try to try to make a fool of yourself like the three boys who got bitten by a black widow to get superpowers.