By Alex Glenn • 26 January 2021 • 10:02
SCIENTISTS in the UK are developing a new laser system to target cancer cells that will not damage healthy tissue.
The new laser system can target tiny cells less than the width of a human hair, all without causing damage to other healthy tissue in the body. So far the project has been focused on colorectal cancers and the next step will be to work with brain cancers.
The Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh received a massive grant of £1.2 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The breakthrough project uses lasers that can attack the cancer using a series of pulses.
Professor Jonathan Shephard, an expert in laser surgery has been working with colleagues on colorectal cancers and has seen much success. They are now set to start working with the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, where they aim to start treating brain cancers.
Professor Shephard said, “Previously we focused on colorectal cancers. We proved in the lab that our laser system can remove cancer cells in a way that restricts damage to the surrounding, healthy cells — within the width of a human hair,
“Because the laser pulses are so short, there is no time for heat to burn the surrounding tissue, which is what happens with current surgical tools.
“We’re building on our understanding of lasers in colorectal cancer surgery towards clinical application and working on adapting it for brain, head and neck cancers — where it could have huge benefits for patients.
“The most important principle of any cancer surgery is to ensure that all cancer cells are removed; failure to do so will result in the cancer coming back.”
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Originally from the UK, Alex is based in Almeria and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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