Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Going beyond the surface


New tech could take light-based cancer treatment deep inside the body

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an effective treatment for easily accessible tumors such as oral and skin cancer.

The laser irradiated area (the white square) shows live cancer cells (green) as well as dead cancer cells (red) as a result of the irradiation.

But the procedure, which uses lasers to activate special drugs called photosensitizing agents, isn’t adept at fighting cancer deep inside the body.

Thankfully, that’s changing due to new technology that could bring PDT into areas of the body which were previously inaccessible. Described May 11 in the journal Nature Photonics, the approach involves using near-infrared beams of light that, upon penetrating deep into the body, are converted into visible light that activates the drug and destroys the tumor.

... more about:
»ILPB »Photonics »activate »drugs »method »natural »tumors

“We expect this will vastly expand the applications for an effective cancer phototherapy that’s already in use,” said co-author Tymish Ohulchanskyy, PhD, University at Buffalo research associate professor and deputy director for photomedicine at the university’s Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics (ILPB). Doctors have used PDT to treat cancer for decades.

Cancer cells absorb the drug, which is delivered to the tumor via the bloodstream or locally. Visible light is then applied to the site, which causes the drug to react with oxygen and create a burst of free radicals that kill the tumor. Unfortunately, visible light does not penetrate tissue well. Conversely, near-infrared light penetrates tissue well but doesn’t activate the drugs efficiently.

To solve this problem, some researchers are developing drugs that absorb near-infrared light. This method is limited, however, because stable and efficient near-infrared absorbing photosenzitizers are notoriously difficult to synthesize. The UB-led team took a different approach, which uses the tumor’s natural environment to tune the light into the necessary wavelengths.

For example, the near-infrared laser beam interacts with the natural protein collagen, which is found in connective tissues. The interaction changes the near-infrared light to visible light, a process known as second harmonic generation.

Likewise, natural proteins and lipids within the cells interact with near-infrared laser light and change it to visible light through another process called four-wave mixing. Thus, visible light can be generated in tumors deep inside the body, and it can be absorbed by the drug.

This activates the drug, which then destroys the tumor. The procedure has numerous advantages, said the study’s leader, Paras Prasad, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor in chemistry, physics, electrical engineering, and medicine at UB, and the ILPB’s executive director.

“There are no long-term side effects for PDT, it’s less invasive than surgery, and we can very precisely target cancer cells,” he said. “With our approach, PDT is enriched to provide another tool that doctors can use to alleviate the pain of millions of people suffering from cancer.”

UB has applied for a patent to protect the team’s discovery, and the university's Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach (UB STOR) is discussing potential license agreements with companies interested in commercializing it.

The research is a collaboration between ILPB, Shenzhen University in China and Korea University in Korea, with which Prasad is affiliated. It was supported in part by a grant from the U.S. Air Force of Scientific Research.

Other co-authors are Aliaksandr Kachynski, Artem Pliss, Andrey Kuzmin and Alexander Baev, all PhDs and researchers within ILPB, and Junle Qu, PhD, Shenzhen University.

Media Contact Information

Cory Nealon

Media Relations Manager, Engineering, Libraries, Sustainability

Tel: 716-645-4614

Twitter: @UBengineering

Cory Nealon | Eurek Alert!
Further information:

Further reports about: ILPB Photonics activate drugs method natural tumors

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Flipping molecular attachments amps up activity of CO2 catalyst
06.10.2015 | DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory

nachricht Safe nanomotors propelled by sugar
06.10.2015 | Max-Planck-Institut für Intelligente Systeme

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Physicists shrink particle accelerator

Prototype demonstrates feasibility of building terahertz accelerators

An interdisciplinary team of researchers has built the first prototype of a miniature particle accelerator that uses terahertz radiation instead of radio...

Im Focus: Simple detection of magnetic skyrmions

New physical effect: researchers discover a change of electrical resistance in magnetic whirls

At present, tiny magnetic whirls – so called skyrmions – are discussed as promising candidates for bits in future robust and compact data storage devices. At...

Im Focus: High-speed march through a layer of graphene

In cooperation with the Center for Nano-Optics of Georgia State University in Atlanta (USA), scientists of the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität have made simulations of the processes that happen when a layer of carbon atoms is irradiated with strong laser light.

Electrons hit by strong laser pulses change their location on ultrashort timescales, i.e. within a couple of attoseconds (1 as = 10 to the minus 18 sec). In...

Im Focus: Battery Production: Laser Light instead of Oven-Drying and Vacuum Technology

At the exhibition BATTERY + STORAGE as part of WORLD OF ENERGY SOLUTIONS 2015 in Stuttgart, the Fraunhofer Institutes for Laser Technology ILT and for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS will be showing how laser technology can be used to manufacture batteries both cost- and energy-efficiently.

In the truest sense, it’s all about watts at the Dresden-based Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS and the Aachen-based Fraunhofer...

Im Focus: New Sinumerik features improve productivity and precision

EMO 2015, Hall 3, Booth E06/F03

  • Drive optimization called automatically by the part program boosts productivity
  • Automatically switching the dynamic values to rapid traverse and interpolation...
All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

EHFG 2015: Securing healthcare and sustainably strengthening healthcare systems

01.10.2015 | Event News

Conference in Brussels: Tracking and Tracing the Smallest Marine Life Forms

30.09.2015 | Event News

World Alzheimer`s Day – Professor Willnow: Clearer Insights into the Development of the Disease

17.09.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Graphene teams up with two-dimensional crystals for faster data communications

06.10.2015 | Information Technology

Laser-wielding physicists seize control of atoms' behavior

06.10.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

Flipping molecular attachments amps up activity of CO2 catalyst

06.10.2015 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>