"It never ceases to amaze me how a simple molecule, such as saccharin -- something many people put in their coffee everyday may have untapped uses, including as a possible lead compound to target aggressive cancers," said Robert McKenna from University of Florida.The finding were presented at the 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Denver.The new work examined how saccharin binds to and deactivates carbonic anhydrase IX, a protein found in some very aggressive cancers.

It is one of many driving factors in the growth and spread of such cancers in the breast, lung, liver, kidney, pancreas and brain. Carbonic anhydrase IX helps regulate pH in and around cancer cells, allowing tumours to thrive and potentially metastasise to other parts of the body.

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