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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 April 2006, 16:29 GMT 17:29 UK
White light cancer treatment hope
A doctor surgeon performs laser surgery
The technology is similar to lasers which use single-colour beams
A pioneering cancer breakthrough using "white light" is being developed by scientists at St Andrews University.

The technology is similar to lasers which use single-colour beams to correct eyesight and skin blemishes.

It is hoped that white light, which is made up of different colours, could be used to insert drugs deeper into tissue and also for moving cancer cells apart.

The physicists said they had already managed to move tiny chromosomes using "tweezers" made out of two light beams.

The researchers, led by Kishan Dholakia, have been awarded 150,000 from the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to investigate medical and biological applications for white light patterns.

The ultra-accurate laser research could lead to more effective treatment for skin cancers and tumours.

It's a good example of how Scotland is leading the way in generate real results from cutting-edge laser research
Prof Dholakia
University of St Andrews

Prof Dholakia said the team hoped to make the light go a little bit deeper into tissue, which would allow doctors to insert drugs into groups of cells painlessly and instantaneously.

"We are talking millimetres and maybe more - it is not being done at the moment," he said.

The St Andrews team also hope to use the laser technology to treat cancerous cells by separating them from normal ones.

Prof Dholakia said a series of light beams could be used to manipulate cancer cells apart.

He said: "It's potential use in medical and biological applications is staggering and a good example of how Scotland is leading the way in generate real results from cutting-edge laser research."

He added that the time frame for such treatments was "several years" away and would need to undergo clinical trials.


SEE ALSO:
'Significant rise' in skin cancer
06 Sep 05 |  Scotland
Cancer study raises hair colour
06 Jan 04 |  Scotland
Universities get 3m cancer funds
12 Dec 03 |  Scotland
Sun lotions 'are not effective'
29 Sep 03 |  Health


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