UC Irvine uses LED light to treat skin cancer

Doctors often remind their patients to wear sunscreen and moderate their sun exposure, yet skin cancer continues to be a problem. But researchers have found that LED light therapy can help treat the condition. Scientists at the University of California, Irvine are using photodynamic therapy to target and kill tumors caused by basal cell carcinoma. And the practice is already FDA approved for esophageal and lung cancer treatment.

In the therapy, tumors are injected with photosensitizing chemicals, which are then blasted with LED light. The light causes a chemical reaction, creating oxygen that kills the tumor. With skin cancer, the scientists are also using LED light to detect differences in pigmentation and tissue structure and also to find where the cancer has spread. The detection process only takes five to 10 seconds, and produces images with a resolution of 30 microns. "Through this imaging modality, it is now possible to assess how the therapeutic light will travel throughout the affected tissue, quantify the drug present within the lesion and monitor its efficacy during treatment," says Rolf Saager, a scientist at the Beckman Laser Institute at UC Irvine, in a release.

- read the UC Irvine release
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