Targeted treatment for cancer cells using light, nanocapsules
Targeted light therapy has been garnering attention as a cancer treatment that redresses the drawbacks of existing methods.
Now, a team of local researchers has developed a way to carry out a dual attack on cancer cells using light, without causing damage to healthy cells.
Park Se-young introduces to us their discovery.
Treating cancer usually requires cancer-fighting drugs or radiotherapy. These methods are effective, but they weaken the immune system by influencing healthy cells as well.
Treatment methods that only target cancer cells using light have been introduced to overcome this disadvantage, but they require the patient to stay in a darkroom during treatment and don't completely eliminate the risk of cell damage.
Now, a Korean research team has developed an effective way to attack cancer cells using light and nanocapsules that adhere to cancer cells.
The capsules are coated with a number of substances, including gold and hyaluronic acid.
This kind of acid is naturally found in the body, where it acts like a cushion and lubricant in joints and tissues.
"Placing hyaluronic acid on the surface of the capsules strengthens their ability to combine with cancer cells, specifically targeting cancer cells and preventing damage to normal tissues."
Once the cancer cell and capsule are combined, rays of light generate heat and attack the cell.
The heat melts the gold on the surface of the capsule and emits substances for a secondary attack.
When exposed to rays of light, the substances generate free radicals to completely destroy the cancer cells.
In an experiment with mice, the research team saw cancer cells completely disappear in 15 days.
The researchers expect their finding to be applied to the treatment of skin and breast cancer, which are more sensitive to light exposure.