Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New method makes it easier to treat prostate and pancreatic cancer

15.02.2012
Laser light in combination with certain drugs – known as photodynamic therapy – can destroy cancer tumours, but is today used mostly to cure skin cancer.

The reason that internal tumours are not treated with the method is that the technology does not exist to check that the precise amount of light is administered. However, software developed by researchers in atomic physics at Lund University in Sweden looks like being able to solve the problem.

“I think we are about to see a real breakthrough, both for us and for other research groups around the world who conduct research on cancer treatment using laser light”, says Johannes Swartling, Doctor of Atomic Physics at Lund University and Chief Technical Officer at SpectraCure, the company that is now developing the software.

The software’s unique feature is that it uses the optical fibres for more than simply emitting light. Intermittently they also gather information about the tumour, which they send back to the laser instrument.

“In this way, the software can continually calculate the optimal light dose and adjust it if necessary. The entire tumour must be removed, while damage to adjacent organs must be avoided”, says Johannes Swartling.

According to the researchers, the software could also be used with other light therapies that use LEDs or infra-red lasers.

Tests on prostate cancer patients in Sweden have shown that the method also works for internal tumours, and in the spring a clinical study on recurrent prostate cancer will begin in the US and Canada. An application for approval to carry out the study is pending. Meanwhile, the same laser light technology is being tested in the UK on pancreatic cancer.

“The advantage of laser light is that it appears that side effects can be minimised. With current treatment methods, prostate cancer patients who are cured risk both impotence and incontinence.”

In addition, traditional treatments entail a risk of cancer recurrence, says Johannes Swartling.

The international tests focus on adjusting dosage, guaranteeing safety and ensuring the effectiveness of treatment. If everything goes smoothly, SpectraCure hopes the method will be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada within a few years.

“This really could be revolutionary”, says Sune Svanberg, Professor of Laser Physics at Lund University and one of the researchers behind the technology.

“The new technology has great potential to help certain patient groups, for whom current treatment methods have major limitations”, says Professor Dr Katarina Svanberg, Department of Oncology, Lund University, who has been involved in the medical side of the development of the method.

How photodynamic therapy works
Before the procedure, the patient is given a light-activated drug, which has no effect without light. The drug spreads throughout the body, including to the area of the tumour. The patient then receives a local or general anaesthetic and the doctor inserts needles with optical fibres into the area affected. These channel light into the cancer tumour. When the light comes into contact with the light-activated drug, it reacts with the surrounding oxygen, causing the cells in the target area to die.

The hardware and software are based on patents developed by atomic physicists in Lund, led by Sune Svanberg and Stefan Andersson-Engels. The idea was to allow the same optical fibres used for treatment to be used for diagnostic measurements that make it possible to calculate the light dose required. The method was soon seen to be practicable and has been developed over the years, now by SpectraCure. The implementation has been carried out by programmers.

For more information, please contact: Stefan Andersson-Engels, Professor of Atomic Physics, +46 46 222 3121, Stefan.Andersson-Engels@fysik.lth.se , Johannes Swartling, +46 708 233680, jsw@spectracure.com or Jens Nilsen, CEO SpectraCure, +46 706 878712, jn@spectracure.com.

High resolution photographs of Stefan Andersson-Engels, Johannes Swartling and Sune Svanberg can be found in the Lund University image bank; enter the name required in the search field. Company photographs from Spectracure are also available; enter “Spectracure” in the search field.

Helga Ekdahl Heun | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se

Further reports about: Atomic Physic cancer patients laser light laser system optical fibre prostate cancer

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Lung images of twins with asthma add to understanding of the disease
06.12.2019 | University of Western Ontario

nachricht Between Arousal and Inhibition
06.12.2019 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electronic map reveals 'rules of the road' in superconductor

Band structure map exposes iron selenide's enigmatic electronic signature

Using a clever technique that causes unruly crystals of iron selenide to snap into alignment, Rice University physicists have drawn a detailed map that reveals...

Im Focus: Developing a digital twin

University of Texas and MIT researchers create virtual UAVs that can predict vehicle health, enable autonomous decision-making

In the not too distant future, we can expect to see our skies filled with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) delivering packages, maybe even people, from location...

Im Focus: The coldest reaction

With ultracold chemistry, researchers get a first look at exactly what happens during a chemical reaction

The coldest chemical reaction in the known universe took place in what appears to be a chaotic mess of lasers. The appearance deceives: Deep within that...

Im Focus: How do scars form? Fascia function as a repository of mobile scar tissue

Abnormal scarring is a serious threat resulting in non-healing chronic wounds or fibrosis. Scars form when fibroblasts, a type of cell of connective tissue, reach wounded skin and deposit plugs of extracellular matrix. Until today, the question about the exact anatomical origin of these fibroblasts has not been answered. In order to find potential ways of influencing the scarring process, the team of Dr. Yuval Rinkevich, Group Leader for Regenerative Biology at the Institute of Lung Biology and Disease at Helmholtz Zentrum München, aimed to finally find an answer. As it was already known that all scars derive from a fibroblast lineage expressing the Engrailed-1 gene - a lineage not only present in skin, but also in fascia - the researchers intentionally tried to understand whether or not fascia might be the origin of fibroblasts.

Fibroblasts kit - ready to heal wounds

Im Focus: McMaster researcher warns plastic pollution in Great Lakes growing concern to ecosystem

Research from a leading international expert on the health of the Great Lakes suggests that the growing intensity and scale of pollution from plastics poses serious risks to human health and will continue to have profound consequences on the ecosystem.

In an article published this month in the Journal of Waste Resources and Recycling, Gail Krantzberg, a professor in the Booth School of Engineering Practice...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

The Future of Work

03.12.2019 | Event News

First International Conference on Agrophotovoltaics in August 2020

15.11.2019 | Event News

Laser Symposium on Electromobility in Aachen: trends for the mobility revolution

15.11.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

The Arctic atmosphere - a gathering place for dust?

09.12.2019 | Earth Sciences

New ultra-miniaturized scope less invasive, produces higher quality images

09.12.2019 | Information Technology

Discovery of genes involved in the biosynthesis of antidepressant

09.12.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>