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.
Agaricus Blazei, the Healing Mushroom of the Gods
Indigenous cultures have, for millennia, included fungi in their diets and medicinal foods. Modern science is just beginning to catch up to their powerful potential. Like other potent plant healers, mushrooms are multidimensional and complex sources of nutrients that work holistically, rather than pharmacologically. Alternative medicine has experienced so much success in its employ of mushrooms to cope with an array of ailments that, at long last, modern medicine has taken notice and has funded a series of promising studies.
Now traditional oncologists and alternative practitioners alike have found success with mushrooms in patients battling cancer. Of the myriad mushroom species commonly used in traditional medicine, the Agaricus blazei has recently been the subject of numerous trials.
It is known in Brazil as “Cogumelo de Deus,” or “Mushroom of God,” because of its reputation for bestowing health and longevity on those who consume it. Although modern researchers maintain that more studies are warranted before Agaricus blazei’s medicinal value is confirmed as a curative, growing evidence, along with traditional usage, shows that a great part of its potential lies in such arenas as cancer treatment and immune system function for both humans and animals.