Infrared light can be a weapon against cancer, says study


An infrared light treatment may be a promising tool in fighting cancer, according to researchers in the United States. The study, published in the journal “Nature Medicine” shows how a drug could be coupled to tumors, only being activated when struck by infrared rays. The treatment would therefore be more accurate than the current without damaging surrounding tissues.

Currently, treatments for cancer can be separated into three categories: those that use radiation, surgery to remove tumors and the use of drugs to kill cancer cells.

All of them have negative side effects and researchers continue looking for more precise therapies.

In this study, scientists at the National Cancer Institute in Maryland, USA, have used antibodies that target proteins on the surfaces of cancer cells.

They then engaged in the chemical IR700 antibody. The IR700 is activated when struck by infrared light that can penetrate several centimeters into the skin.

To test the combination, the scientists implanted tumors on the backs of mice. They received the drug and were exposed to infrared rays.

“The tumor volume was significantly reduced … compared to untreated mice and survival was prolonged,” the scientists say.

“The selective attack minimizes the damage to normal cells.”

The authors say that the combination proved to be “a promising therapy” for cancer treatment.

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