Published in Chemistry World, 31 Mar 2009
Scientists in the US have created a light-activated molecule that can control blood clotting. The molecule, which works with the help an enzyme, could one day be used in medicine to shut off blood supply to localised areas of the human body such as tumours.
The past decade has seen a strong interest in studying the way light can trigger certain molecules to change from a stable state to an unstable one. This transformation is known as photochromism, and it is exploited, for example, in certain eyeglasses that darken on exposure to UV sunlight. One type of photochromism generating interest in medical science is photoisomerism, in which light causes molecules to switch their entire structural symmetry, from ‘cis’ (when chemical groups occupy the same side of the molecule) to ‘trans’ (when they take opposite sides). [...]
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