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UV-A light technology hailed as world-first treatment for cancer

British scientists have developed a technology that uses ultraviolet light to activate antibodies, which specifically attack cancerous tumours.

British scientists have developed a technology that uses ultraviolet light to activate antibodies, which specifically attack cancerous tumours.

Hailed as a world-first, this new UV-A light technology treatment for cancer propels the body's immune system to fight tumours with pin-point accuracy. Researchers at Newcastle University, where the treatment was developed, believe it could replace current treatments such as chemotherapy for the most common forms of the disease such as breast, lung, prostate, skin and stomach cancers

Professor Colin Self and Stephen Thompson of Newcastle University created the procedure that allows antibodies to be activated by UV-A light and then targets them to a specific area of the body by shining a probe at the relevant part. The procedure maximises the destruction of the tumour, while minimising damage to healthy tissue.

Self explains: "A patient coming in for treatment of bladder cancer would receive an injection of the cloaked antibodies. She would sit in the waiting room for an hour and then come back in for treatment by light. Just a few minutes of the light therapy directed at the region of the tumour would activate the T-cells, causing her body's own immune system to attack the tumour".

Details of the new technology are presented in two papers in the current issue of the journal ChemMedChem.

30th September 2008

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