Saturday, June 6, 2009

British boffins unveil band-aid that zaps skin cancer with light

British boffins unveil band-aid that zaps skin cancer with light

Scientists have unveiled a revolutionary sticking plaster that can kill off skin cancer cells. The technology uses OLEDs, or organic light-emitting diodes, to zap tumors, and can also heal conventional wounds. And, unlike existing skin cancer treatments, which usually take place in hospital, the OLED band-aid will allow the disease to be treated while the patient is at home — or work.

Researchers working on the project say that the glowing band-aids work in just 30 minutes. They are used in conjunction with a light-sensitive cream called Aminolaevulinic Acid that, when rubbed into the skin, attaches itself to the cancerous cells and weakens them, making them highly sensitive to light.

Although the firm behind the breakthrough, Polymetronics, has so far only tested the device on cancer cells in petri dishes, it is confident that the OLED sticking plaster will work just as effectively on human skin. Clinical trials are due to start on the light-up band-aid, which uses about as much energy as a TV, in the next few months.

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