By Margarita Nahapetyan
Scientists have developed a groundbreaking non-invasive light therapy for those who suffer from breast cancer. The experts, who are about to unveil these good news at this year's Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, believe that a new treatment could kill tumors with a blast of laser blast.
In fact, a team of surgeons from Britain, has come up with the revolutionary treatment - known as photodynamic therapy (PDT) - for breast cancer, that can be carried out in only a matter of minutes which no surgical involvement, and leaves healthy cells around the tumor unaffected.
Photodynamic therapy, which, according to the scientists, could become a good alternative to radiotherapy in some cases, works by providing a person with a drug that makes the target area sensitive to light. The drug is activated after the light - a low power red laser - is pointed to the area. The process deprives the timorous cells of oxygen, leading to their death, and yet leaves the breast unchanged. Researchers hope that the new treatment could become an alternative to chemotherapy and surgery.
Dr. Mo Keshtgar, very famous breast cancer surgeon, who led the team at the Royal Free Hospital, said that the main point of the treatment is that the laser light attacks and destroys cancer cells while retaining the life of the surrounding healthy cells. "Breast cancer can be particularly traumatic, with more invasive treatments leaving physical and emotional scars. Our treatment will keep the structure of the connective tissue intact, meaning the breast does not become deformed," the experts added.
The scientists plan to begin conducting clinical trials of the "photodynamic therapy" later this year. These trials will involve 20 patients who were diagnosed with breast cancer. The treatment is already available for non-melanoma skin cancer, as well as for mouth cancer and some other types of cancers. But Dr. Keshtgar's team is the first to use it for breast cancer. Other trials are also scheduled to try PDT for prostate and bile duct and pancreatic cancer.
However, this is not the first time when Dr. Keshtgar has developed a new technique. The surgeon was the one to carried out the first keyhole mastectomy in Britain. Traditionally, mastectomy has involved the removal of the entire breast. But some ladies want to keep the skin around their breasts so that implants can be inserted at a later time which would give breasts a more natural look.
Female patients who were treated by Dr. Keshtgar had their breast removed through the side of the nipple and right away replaced by an implant that was then inflated. This meant that some cancer patients will never be without their "own" breasts and that scarring will be significantly reduced.