A Light-Emitting Wireless Implant to Kill Cancer

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Cancer continues to be one of the leading causes of death in many parts of the globe. That is why researchers and scientists have been continuously working on newer, safer methods to kill cancer. One of the newest devices to treat cancer is this light-emitting wireless implant.

The use of light to kill cancer cells is not new technology. Medically known as photodynamic therapy, the use of light has already been used for quite some time now to treat certain types of cancers. In this therapy, the patient takes a drug designed to make the cancer cells vulnerable to light. Once vulnerable, the doctor will then shine a light on the area where the tumor is for about 10 to 45 minutes. The doctor does this with the aid of an endoscope, which is a small flexible tube.

However, photodynamic therapy poses certain problems, especially when the tumor is lodged in moving organs or those found in delicate areas. There is difficulty in performing the therapy for patients with lung cancer or cancer of the esophagus.  It makes controlling the dose of light a challenge. Too much dose or light intensity can overheat the healthy tissues, and too little can render the treatment ineffective.

With this problem in mind, Toshinori Fujie of Waseda University in Japan and some colleagues and researchers have developed a device that allows doctors to perform photodynamic therapy more safely and efficiently. The light-emitting device is designed to keep the light source stable and in the right place while it emits light at low intensity. It is attached inside the body and is sandwiched between two thin sticky sheets covered with the same sticky polymer as that found in mussel’s feet.  Moreover, the device is safer because it is not battery-operated. It instead uses a LED chip that is powered by NFC technology.

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