Scientists Find Breakthrough Use of Light to Kill Cancer Cells
In a world-first, scientists have developed a breakthrough treatment that uses light to kill cancer cells.
We often think of light as a life-giving source, but in the case of photoimmunotherapy — the use of light to help a person’s own immune system fight cancer — light can both be a source of life, for the patient, and death, to cancer cells.
A multidisciplinary team of European scientists joined forces to design the new treatment, which works by combining a special fluorescent dye with a cancer-targeting compound.
Shining light on the compound forces cancer cells to glow in the dark, helping surgeons to remove more of the tumors compared with existing techniques.
Then, the surgeon would shine near-infrared light on the site, switching the compound into tumor-killing mode and killing off any remaining cells.
The trial of this therapy was done on mice with a particularly aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma.
Findings showed that the mice had clear signs of tumor death in as little as one hour after exposure to the light. The treatment also triggered an immune response that could mount a new attack on cancer should it come back.
Study leader Dr. Gabriella Kramer-Marek told The Guardian, “Brain cancers like glioblastoma can be hard to treat, and sadly, there are too few treatment options for patients. Surgery is challenging due to the location of the tumors, and so new ways to see tumor cells to be removed during surgery and to treat residual cancer cells that remain afterward could be of great benefit.”
Scientists are quite hopeful that the results will be duplicated when they study the treatment of humans. In the meantime, this trial has shined a light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.
Water-Only Fasting Protocols Found to Enhance Cancer Treatments
Intermittent fasting has become popular for health and weight loss. But could fasting also be a highly effective tool for fighting and reversing cancer?
Across the world, nearly every culture has a tradition of fasting, but in our modern lives we’ve created a world of surplus and with it a constant and easily satiated hunger. With this excess food, our society has become plagued by diseases of excess.
Dr. Alan Goldhamer is the founder of True North Health Foundation, a therapeutic clinic for water-only fasting that helps patients suffering from a range of illnesses including hypertension, inflammation, autoimmune disorders, and cancer.
“We’ve gone from being criminal quacks to cutting-edge researchers because this idea of fasting has definitely gained some popular support,” Goldhamer said. “Our approach is very different, we believe that there is a cause of real health and the cause of health is healthful living. So, we focus on diet, sleep, (and) exercise, and we use fasting to undo the consequences of dietary excess, essentially. That’s why the conditions that respond the best to fasting are the conditions caused by dietary excess – so, obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and certain forms of cancer, including Lymphoma.
Studies have shown that fasting acts to help the body’s natural ability to destroy dead or diseased cells — a process called autophagy. Now, doctors have begun to study how fasting protocols in conjunction with drugs, such as chemotherapy, can improve the efficacy of cancer treatment.
“It turns out autophagy is the process the body uses to get rid of cellular debris — aging cells and cancer cells — and it turns out that fasting is one of those things that may profoundly enhance autophagy in, not just humans, but also in other animals. In fact in rats, if you do periodic fasting with rats you can double their lifespan (everything else being equal). So, this is something that’s very interesting and promising. I don’t know that we have what I would consider definitive research on the issue, but it certainly raises one of the mechanisms by which fasting may also be effective,” Goldhamer said.