Montreal researchers are reporting success at using a new micro-laser described as a “light scalpel” to target tumors by changing the genetic material of cancer cells.
The advance, developed by Polytechnique Montréal nanosurgery specialists, could pave the way for new medical applications and treatments for cancer, the researchers said.
The technique, developed by Michel Meunier, uses a laser with ultra-short pulses along with gold nanoparticles to target cancer cells. When the gold particles are deposited on the cancer cells, they concentrate the laser's energy so it can precisely target tumors without damaging surrounding healthy tissues.
The approach changes the genetic activity in cancer cells and could be used to slow their growth and movement to other parts of the body.
Researchers, reporting in the journal Biomaterials, said laboratory tests of the technique proved to be 70 percent effective at targeting human cells.
“This major scientific breakthrough could lead to the development of promising applications, including new therapeutic approaches in oncology, neurology and cardiology,” the researchers wrote.