Cancer may no longer be a death sentence as new research presents a breakthrough for next-generation treatments. Scientists at the University of East Angila are now closer than ever to creating a new form of cancer treatment that is light-activated.
These treatments would work by switching on LED lights embedded close to a tumor. The lights would then activate biotherapeutic drugs. The treatment may have a higher success rate than other treatments currently used because this treatment is highly targeted.
This breakthrough brings hope that future immunotherapy treatments could be specially engineered to attack tumors more precisely than before.
Current treatments come with serious side effects. While chemotherapy attacks cancerous cells, it also kills healthy ones compromising the body even more. These attacks cause side effects commonly seen as hair loss and increased illness. The traditional treatments also put patients at risk of getting sick from viruses and infections because it weakens their immune system.
This treatment could reduce the patient's side effects and improve antibody resistance time in the body. With highly targeted therapies, these side effects can be almost eliminated. These new treatments would increase efficiency because only the cells around the tumor would endure treatment, and the other cells in the body would be left untouched.
Using light-dependent antibody activation directly at the tumor site helps ensure that the drug only targets the specific site. This method is what helps to prevent severe side effects that are commonly seen with today's cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy.
This new development marks the first-ever antibody fragments that bind to and form a covalent bond with its target, the tumor. The covalent bond fuses the two. Theoretically, the drug molecules could be permanently fixed to a tumor. Then, irradiation with a UV light set to a specific wavelength would be applied to complete the process.
The light can be administered in several ways, either by shining a light directly on the skin in the case of skin cancer or by using small LED lights that would then be implanted at the tumor site inside the patient's body.
Sadly, these new treatments would not apply to all cancers. This new development would only apply to forms of skin cancers or those involving a tumor.
Now scientists are developing new targeting techniques to ensure that as much of the dose reaches the tumor as possible. Focusing on this area is needed to minimize the drug's accumulation in healthy tissues that could trigger unwanted side effects.
If researchers continue to see success in their following stages of research, then there is hope that this new generation of treatment could reach patients in the next five to ten years. Researchers must complete more work to make this approach doable for various cancers instead of only skin cancer and those involving a tumor.
This new development in cancer research hopes to lead to a new class of highly targeted light-responsive biotherapeutics. These new treatments can potentially be more effective and minimize side effects than the current treatments.
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