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Breakthrough in the use of light as a therapy for cancer

Breakthrough in the use of light as a therapy for cancer

Thursday 21 March 2019

American boffins have developed a chemical process which allows infrared light to enter the human body in a harmless way but then to re-emit as visible energy, potentially enhancing the reach and effectiveness of photodynamic therapies (PDTs) such as those used to manage cancer.

The research team from Columbia and Harvard say that the new method involves a chain of processes , known as triplet fusion upconversion. Luis M. Campos, associate professor of chemistry at Columbia writes: “With this technology, we were able to fine-tune infrared light to the necessary, longer wavelengths that allowed us to noninvasively pass through a wide range of barriers, such as paper, plastic moulds, blood and tissue.”

To date PDT has been limited to either localised or surface cancers. If proved to be successful, this new process could bring PDT to whole areas of the body that are currently inaccessible, allowing selective targeting of tumor sites. The research could also have applications in PDT for conditions including traumatic brain injury and damaged nerves.


1.The Engineer:
Research casts new light on cancer treatment.

Photoredox catalysis using infrared light via triplet fusion upconversion.


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