Researchers Developing Blood-powered Laseradmin
A team of scientists from the University of Michigan are looking into a technology that will help medical professionals fight tumors in a whole new way.
Using a special dye and a regular laser, the team was able to make blood emit infrared light, according to IFLScience.com. A doctor could then detect this light using a heat-sensitive camera and trace areas of the body that are rich in blood vessels – like tumors.
While indocyanine green (ICG) dyes, which bind to proteins in blood plasma, are already being used in medical imagining, by using a visible light laser the researchers were able to make the mixture “shine more brightly.” At present, tests have only been performed outside of the human body, but team leader Xudong Fan of University of Michigan seems confident that they will eventually be able to test this technology in humans. From New Scientist : CG accumulates in blood vessels, so areas of the body with large numbers of vessels, such as tumours, should glow much more brightly, says Fan. In a clinical setting, doctors could inject ICG and shine a normal laser at the skin, then check for a glow using an infrared camera.
Fan also addressed safety concerns – because while researchers want to make sure the laser is powerful enough to shine a light on tumors, they want to ensure it will still be safe for patient use.