Scientists Have Tested A New Laser That Can Kill Bloodstream Cancer Cells In Real Time

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A group of scientists from the University of Arkansas has successfully tested a laser which can track down cancer cells and kill them - all from outside the skin.

Scientists Have Tested A New Laser That Can Kill Bloodstream Cancer Cells In Real Time

Not the actual laser; file photo of a laser medical procedure. (Capifrutta/iStock)


A group of scientists from the University of Arkansas has successfully tested a laser which can track down cancer cells and kill them - all from outside the skin.


While being entirely non-invasive, "this technology has the potential to significantly inhibit metastasis progression," explained Vladimir Zharov, author of a paper published in Science Translational Medicine.


The idea is to kill off cancer cells before they can metastasize, or spread, throughout the body - the main cause of cancer-related deaths.


By shining a laser at those circulating tumor cells, they end up absorbing far more heat energy than regular cells. The heat makes them expand and collapse.


"The use of lasers has revolutionized disease diagnosis and treatment. However, the large size of lasers has prevented their use in many medical applications at the cellular level," stated Zharo in 2017.


The results are promising: "In one patient, we destroyed 96% of the tumor cells," said Zharov. And that's before they cranked the laser to max power.


It is not the first device of its kind, but Zharov claims it is the first to be demonstrated in humans.


Dozens of devices have tried something similar, such as a wrist-worn device put together by University of Michigan researchers.


However, the new device has another significant advantage: it can scan a liter of blood in an hour - which is far quicker than competing devices.

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Thinking Humanity: Scientists Have Tested A New Laser That Can Kill Bloodstream Cancer Cells In Real Time
Scientists Have Tested A New Laser That Can Kill Bloodstream Cancer Cells In Real Time
A group of scientists from the University of Arkansas has successfully tested a laser which can track down cancer cells and kill them - all from outside the skin.
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