Groundbreaking Study Sheds Light on Treating Cancer

Using light to target and kill cancer cells alternatively without surgery.

Treating Cancer
From left are Juhye Kang, Myeong-Gyuu Kang, Prof. Hyun-Woo Rhee, Jung Seung Nam, Prof. Tae-Hyuk Kwon, and Prof. Mi Hee Lim.

A new study, affiliated with UNIST has presented a natural, alternative, and holistic cancer treatment that uses light to selectively wipe out cancerous cells without harming surrounding tissues.

The research team analyzed the process of how the light triggers the production of an active form of oxygen that destroys nearby cancer cells, as well as the treatment effect of using the wavelengths of different colors of light. With further research, this novel method might eventually be used to cure various diseases in humans.

This study was jointly conducted by Prof. Tae-Hyuk Kwon (School Natural Science), Prof. Mi Hee Lim (School of Natural Science), and Prof. Hyun-Woo Rhee (School of Natural Science), and eight other researchers at UNIST.

Through the study, the team developed efficient photodynamic therapy (PDT) agents for cancer treatment, using both the photosensitizers (PSs) and light. The results of the study have been published in the September issue of the Journal of the American Chemical (JACS).

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a treatment that uses a drug, called photosensitizers (PSs) or a particular type of light. Upon activation by light, PSs produce a form of oxygen that display selective cancer cell killing behaviours.

In the study, the research team reported an effectively developed design strategy for PDT agents based on Ir(III) complexes by controlling their energy levels to achieve marked ROS generation.

The team expects that their Ir(III) complexes could be used for additive-free photo-cross-linking in other fields beyound PDT.