A promising tool in cancer fight: Light

Scientists claim to have discovered a “promising” tool in the fight against cancer – light, which could lead to a highly targeted treatment without damaging the surrounding tissues.

Currently, treatments for cancer can be separated into three categories: blasting it with radiation, surgically removing a tumour or using drugs to kill the cancerous cells. All have side effects and scientists are trying to come up with more precise therapies. In this study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, the researchers used an antibody which targets proteins on the surface of cancerous cells.

They then attached a chemical, IR700, to the antibody. IR700 is activated when it is hit by near infrared light. This wave of light can penetrate several centimetres into the skin. To test the antibody-chemical combination, researchers implanted tumours, squamous cell carinoma, into the backs of mice. They were given the drug and exposed to near infrared light, the BBC reported. Read more…

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