Scientists develop new laser tech to destroy cancer cells

June 19, 2019

Accurate detection of circulating tumour cells (CTC) inpatients’ blood can offer insight into the underlying tumour and predict metastases; their elimination is key to containing widespread cancer. Recently, American and Russian scientists have together developed a new kind of laser that can pinpoint and destroy CTCs without surgical interventions, which is a huge advantage to cancer treatment.

Led by Vladimir Zharov, Director of the nanomedicine centre at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, US,the laser system was tested in people with progressive skin cancer or melanoma. The laser sends energy to the bloodstream, and as melanoma CTCs absorb more of this energy than normal cells, they heat up quickly, expand and are more easily “seen”. Heat from the same laser also causes vapour bubbles to form on the melanoma CTCs, collapsing and mechanically destroying itself and the tumour cells. At the time of the study, the device didn’t return any false positives on the healthy volunteers or cause safety concerns or side effects.

The new laser appears to be much more sensitive than current methods used to detect tumor cells in the blood. The technology is hoped to be applied to diagnostic medicine to find CTCs released by cancers other than melanoma.


Category: Features, Technology & Devices

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