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Laser Fine Tuned To Kill Cancer

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Laser Fine Tuned To Kill Cancer

Femtosecond laser fined tuned to combat cancer…

A weapon in the fight against cancer is on the horizon; scientists have fine-tuned a high-speed short burst laser to be able to detect and destroy cancer.

The modified femtosecond laser – a high-speed burst of light that pulses at one-quadrillionth of a second – was developed by researchers from the University of Tennessee’s Space Institute to detect, map and nullify cancerous tumors.

Christian Parigger, associate professor of physics at the University of Tennessee, who co-developed the laser with Jacqueline Johnson, associate professor of mechanical, aerospace, and biomedical engineering, and Robert Splinter of Splinter Consultants, said in a press release:

“Using ultra-short light pulses gives us the ability to focus in a well-confined region, and the ability for intense radiation…

“This allows us to come in and leave a specific area quickly so we can diagnose and attack tumorous cells fast.”

By tuning the laser to target the cancerous region, researchers demonstrated how the intense beam of light was able to burn off the tumor safely and effectively.

The precision of the laser, allows doctors to target the tumor without heating up or damaging surround ding tissues, and since the laser can non-invasively penetrate the skull, it could become a prime candidate for brain surgery explained Parigger:

“Because the femtosecond laser radiation can be precisely focused both spatially and temporally, one can avoid heating up too many other things that you do not want heated…

“Using longer laser-light pulses is similar to leaving a light bulb on, which gets warm and can damage healthy tissue.”

In addition relatively low dose of radiation means that the treatment can be perform in an out patient’s room instead of a hospital operating room; which in turn makes the procedure much more accessible.

Parigger and his team “are working to bring their technology to market with the University of Tennessee Research Foundation.”


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  1. Christopher MacManus: High-speed laser sets sights on cancer. Cnet, 07/24/2012.