A group of Japanese researchers has discovered that polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), the main ingredient in liquid glue, drastically improves an existing neutron cancer therapy.

Their research was published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

The current clinical boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) faces the challenge of having BPA, a key compound in the treatment, remain inside cancer cells longer.

The team, led by Tokyo Institute of Technology assistant professor Takahiro Nomoto, has solved this challenge by mixing PVA into boron in the making of BPA (p-boronphenylalanine).

In the therapy, cancer cells containing BPA are killed by particles emitted from boron atoms when they are exposed to neutrons.

In experiments on mice, the new PVA-mixed drug led to a near-permanent cure, according to the research team.

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