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Scientists destroy tumors in mice using light therapy

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November 13, 2011

Image of a mouse with implanted tumors before and after receiving photoimmunotherapy (PIT)...

Image of a mouse with implanted tumors before and after receiving photoimmunotherapy (PIT) (Photo: NCI)

Besides surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are the foundation of modern day cancer treatment. Although effective, these therapies often have debilitating and damaging side effects. But scientists at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland have been experimenting with a new form of therapy using infrared light to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors without damaging healthy tissue.

The photoimmunotherapy (PIT) treatment works by combining cancer-specific antibodies with a fluorescent dye. A near infrared light is then administered which heats up the dye, burns a hole in the cancer cell is has attached to, and essentially kills it.

Scientists have targeted tumor cells in mice by using the antibodies that bind to proteins that are often over-expressed in cancers. The researchers specifically targeted HER2, a protein over-expressed by some breast cancers; EGFR, which is over-expressed by some lung, pancreatic, and colon cancers; and PSMA, which is over-expressed by prostate cancers.

"Normal cells may have a hundred copies of these antibodies, but cancer cells have millions of copies," says Hisataka Kobayashi, chief scientist in Molecular Imaging at NCI. "That's a big difference." The result is that only cancer cells are affected by the light-activation, leaving surrounding tissue unharmed.

The dye used in the study also lights up allowing researchers to more easily monitor the treatment's progress with fluorescence imaging. In the mice used in the study, the fluorescence visibly declined one day after a single treatment with the infrared light. The therapy has the potential to aid surgeons in future by helping to identify cancer cells that might remain after a tumor has been removed. "It could help clean up the tumor cells that are harder for surgeons to get to," says Kobayashi.

At this stage the therapy is not suitable for use on large tumors as it kills off too many cells at once, flushing the body with toxins and leading to cardiovascular problems. More work also needs to be done in relation to detection of the proteins over-expressed in cancers. For example the protein HER2 used in this study is only present in about 40% of all breast cancers.

The study has recently been published in the journal Nature Medicine.

Source: National Cancer Institute

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6 Comments

This is basically the same concept pioneered by John Kanzius (website: kanziuscancerresearch.org) but using radio frequencies to affect metallic particles rather than IR light to affect dye. What Kanzius was missing was a way to specifically target the cancer cells in order to deliver the metallic particles. However, this hurdle seems to be melting away as more becomes known about cellular chemical interaction. Good news! Just don't let Big Pharma buy you guys out!

MzunguMkubwa
14th November, 2011 @ 05:19 am PST

I have been treating my own cancer for two years using a variant of "photo-dynamic therapy". It involves ingesting a photo activator called CE6 which ultimately adheres to, or is absorbed by, the affected cells. Then I apply a very strong NIR light source at the tumor site creating, in effect, photosynthesis - oxygen - in and around the cells. The theory is that cancer cannot live in an oxygenated atmosphere. (The "variant" aspect is that I also apply ultrasound).

I recently was examined by a conventional oncologist - someone not involved with alternative therapies - who was astounded that the tumor wasn't 4 or 5 times larger given the time frame. And though this squamous-cell tumor has not gone away altogether, it has not grown nor spread to other organs. I chose this approach due to my aversion to the (doctor-recommended) conventional chemo-radiation agenda.

jailerjay
14th November, 2011 @ 09:25 am PST

Cancer is a nasty disease which took my father at a young age of 56. I am not a Dr or have any medical degree but have always thought there would be a way to treat cancer with infrared light. The vision I had was to have blood go thru a continuous tube (return back to the body at another point) which is encapsulated in an enclosure (e.g. some type of box) with infrared lights. Patients can hook up to it and receive the treatment on a daily, weekly or monthly basis; similar to dialysis. I wish the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda Maryland all of the best luck in finding a treatment for this disease.

vdior
14th November, 2011 @ 12:30 pm PST

The circle comes back round. Royal Raymond Rife was doing this back in the 1920s and George Lakhovsky was doing this in the 1940s. Both were surpressed by the medical establishment.

John T Boyd
15th November, 2011 @ 04:08 am PST

'See's' (sounds) like what the Doc in Star Trek utilised!

Its odd that when i used to watch the original Star Trek series, I would laugh at the silly thin TV sets in their conferance table, and the light therapy devices the doctor used to carry on him. Who would of thought such things possible?.

''Now I feel like a prize Monkey! Teleportation next?... I will be watching Gizmag closely!''.

Harpal Sahota
15th November, 2011 @ 07:45 am PST

...." the foundation of modern day cancer treatment. Although effective, these therapies often have debilitating and damaging side effects" .> effective???? damaging? indeed!

http://www.beating-cancer-gently.com/support-files/chemocurerate.pdf

Martin Walzek
15th November, 2011 @ 01:10 pm PST
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