Scientists closer to non invasive cancer therapy

September 25th, 2008 - 12:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Sep 25 (IANS) Swinburne University of Technology researchers have edged closer to bringing non-invasive cancer treatment to reality, thanks to advances in photothermal therapy. The therapy, a promising experimental approach, involves introducing a reactive compound (gold nanorods) into a patient’s tumour, which will absorb laser light to heat up the tumour cells and identify them.

Swinburne Centre for Micro-Photonics researchers Min Gu, Jing Liang Li and Daniel Day developed biologically coated gold nanorods to highlight such cells, so they could be destroyed with infrared laser, reports Sciencealert. The was published in the Advanced Materials journal.

Gu likens the photothermal procedure to a metal object getting very warm if it is left out in the sun. “Because we are using metallic nanorods, they heat up very quickly when a laser beam shines on them - this heat then destroys the cancerous cells they are attached to.”

“If we can catch the cancer early on, photothermal therapy will allow us to carry out targeted treatment at a cellular level. This will mean many patients with early stage cancer won’t have to go through radiation or chemotherapy, and the harsh side effects associated with these treatments,” said Day.

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