Researchers from the National Cancer Institute in Maryland say that light waves could be used to provide highly targeted treatment for cancer.
The researchers said that drugs can be developed which will stick to the tumors and can then be activated using specific light waves. The researchers added that such a treatment could reduce the number and severity of side effects that cancer patients currently experience when they undergo either chemotherapy or surgical procedures to remove the tumors.
The researchers conducted a study in mice showcasing the possibility of such treatments in the future by developing an antibody that sticks to the proteins present on the surface of tumor cells. The antibody was attached to a chemical known as IR700 which was then activated by infrared rays.
After activating the antibody, the researchers found the size of tumors to be significantly reduced. "Tumor volume was significantly reduced compared to untreated control mice and survival was significantly prolonged. This selective killing minimizes damage to normal cells. Although we observed no toxicity in our experiments, clinical translation of this method will require formal toxicity studies", the researchers wrote in the report which has been published in the journal Nature Medicine.