Next Step of Photo-Thermal Cancer Therapy Found

A novel technique could resolve current problems with photo-thermal therapy for cancer treatment.

A team of researchers have discovered a “smart” nanoparticle that is biodegradable and uses heat and light to target and kill tumors.

The findings could potentially provide an approach to boost the utilization of photo-thermal therapy for cancer treatment, according to a study published by Angewandte Chemie.

"Our smart nanoparticle is super cool. It can absorb light, generate heat and ablate the tumor,” said principle investigator Gang Zhen, PhD. “It's a thermal sensor and once it reaches the desired ablation temperature of 55C, it becomes invisible allowing the light to move deeper into more areas of tumor and repeat the treatment process.”

The nanoparticle, called photo-thermal enhancing auto-regulating liposomes (PEARLs), could possibly further photo-thermal treatment that is currently at a standstill due to 2 problems.

The current treatment can overheat the tissue and lead to damage during the treatment. These drugs also are unable to kill large tumors since the light does not travel once it is absorbed, according to the study.

"The result is a promising new way to heat and ablate larger volumes of tumor with minimal damage to surrounding tissues in a controlled and precise way,” Dr Zhen concluded. “The next step is to conduct pre-clinical studies to test the concept further.”