Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation kill cancer cells and damage healthy cells in your body. These treatments may cause painful side effects like hair loss, feeling tired, and sick besides putting patients at increased risk of picking up infections.
Treating cancer without debilitating side effects has long been the holy grail of researchers all around the world
Light-activated antibody therapy could pave the way for new acutely targeted treatment of cancer cells.
Scientists at the University of East Anglia in the UK have successfully engineered antibody fragments that fight disease and form a covalent bond with their target – activated by UV light at a specific wavelength. This means that in the future, immunotherapy treatments could attack tumors more efficiently and precisely than ever before.
Dr. Amit Sachdeva, from UEA’s School of Chemistry, the principal scientist for the study, said, “In other words, you could activate antibodies to attack tumor cells by shining light – either directly onto the skin, in the case of skin cancer, or using small LED lights that could be implanted at the site of a tumor inside the body.”
“This would allow cancer treatment to be more efficient and targeted because it means that only molecules in the vicinity of the tumor would be activated, and it wouldn’t affect other cells,”
This treatment will reduce the side effects for patients and improve antibody residence time in the body.
Researchers hope that if the next stages of research go well, we can see the next generation of light-activated immunotherapies being used to treat cancer patients within the next five to 10 years.