A wide range of new technologies are being tested to beat the cancer. From developing vaccines using the latest mRNA technology to engineering cells that can attack tumors, scientists are trying different approaches to fight the deadly disease. Latest approach involves the use of lasers. .
Phototherapies for cancerous cell
The idea is not entirely new and has been used before. Lasers can be used to generate heat at tumor sites that can kill unwanted cells in a method called photothermal therapy (PTT). Alternatively, photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses a laser. It is used to create reactive oxygen species (ROS), a group of hyper-reactive chemicals that are deadly to any type of cell, including cancer cells.
The effectiveness of laser therapy is determined by the depth of penetration of the laser into the tissue, which in turn is determined by the shape & radius of the beam, the wavelength of light used & intensity of the laser.
As a new approach, the researchers are now proposing to pairing-up these methods with nanoscale biomaterials that can make therapies highly precise & targeted. These nanoscale materials need to be photosensitive and work at specific wavelengths to allow better control of methods during therapies.
Nanomaterial as delivery systems
Interestingly, nanoscale material is not only limited to being a light receiver in the process, but can also be reused to perform other tasks. The researchers propose that the surfaces could be used to deliver chemo therapeutic drugs to tumor sites. If used in PDT, the material could also deliver anti-biotics to prevent bacterial infection at the site where the ROS have been put to work.
The researchers also cite an application in which gold nanorods were used as the nanoscale material & glycoprotein from rabies virus was attached to their surface. Since the rabies virus is able to cross the blood-brain barrier in the normal course of infection, the gold nanorods also managed to cross-over, after which the PTT was performed near the cancer cells.
In the future, the technology could also be implemented to treat non-healing ulcers, atherosclerosis and even dental infections, the researchers said.
The findings are published in the journal Applied Physics Reviews.