Scientists have developed and successfully tested a revolutionary way to treat cancer that illuminates and destroys affected cells. This will help surgeons more accurately remove tumors in cancer patients.
A new form of photoimmunotherapy was developed by a European team of scientists from Great Britain, Poland and Sweden. Experts believe that it will be one of the five main ways to treat cancer. This is told by The Guardian.
Light therapy causes cancer cells to glow in the dark, helping surgeons remove tumors more accurately, and destroying cell debris within minutes of surgery. In the world’s first study on mice with glioblastoma – a common and aggressive brain cancer – a new method revealed the smallest cancer cells to remove and then destroyed the remaining ones.
A study of photoimmunotherapy in London also showed that treatment elicited an immune response that could help the body kill cancer cells on its own in the future and prevent glioblastoma from returning after surgery. A new method is currently being tested to treat neuroblastoma in children.
“Brain cancers like glioblastoma can be hard to treat and, sadly, there are too few treatment options for patients. Surgery is challenging due to the location of the tumors, and so new ways to see tumor cells to be removed during surgery, and to treat residual cancer cells that remain afterwards, could be of great benefit,” said study leader Dr. Gabriela Kramer-Marek.
Therapy combines a fluorescent dye with a compound for the treatment of cancer. In a mouse trial, this greatly increased the visibility of cancer cells during surgery and subsequently had an antitumor effect when activated by near-infrared light. According to scientists, this will help treat particularly complex tumors that cannot be completely removed by other means.