New Laser Can Detect and Kill the Bloodstream Cancer Cells in Real Time

By: | June 18th, 2019

Image courtesy: Georgia State University

Researchers from University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) have successfully tested a device that can track and kill circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the blood without harming surrounding blood cells.

Known as Cytophone this device integrates a laser, ultrasound and phone technologies

This non-invasive and harmless device kills the cancer cells from outside the skin. It aims at killing the cancer cells before they are able to multiply throughout the body. The metastasis or the spreading of the cancer cells in the body is the main cause of cancer-related death. If the CTCs are killed in the bloodstream before they got a chance to settle, it could help prevent metastasis and save lives.

Vladimir Zharov, director of the nanomedicine center at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, said, “This technology has the potential to significantly inhibit metastasis progression,”

Science behind the device

Laser pulses are shined to penetrate through intact skin and to monitor circulating tumor cells. Laser sends energy to the bloodstream, Melanoma CTCs absorb far more heat than normal cells, causing them to expand and collapse.

Cytophone is 1,000 times more sensitive than other methods at detecting of CTCs in the blood of patients with melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer.

Results are promising; this system accurately detected CTCs in 27 out of 28 people with cancer.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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