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'Red Light' Green Lights New Possibilities for Cancer Treatment

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Making cancer treatments more effective could be as simple as bathing cells in a soothing glow. Researchers at the University of Ulm in Germany have found that cells absorb chemotherapy drugs more effectively when first hit with a pulse of red light, reports New Scientist. Because light on this wavelength decreases the density of water and pushes it out of cells "when the laser is switched off, the water returns to its high-density state, forcing the cell to 'suck in' water and any other molecules, including drugs, from its surroundings," New Scientist says. The researchers, who reported their findings in the Journal of Controlled Release, tested this method on cervical cancer cells. They "surrounded" the cells with anti-cancer drugs and exposed some of them to the red light for one minute. The researchers observed that that 70 percent of the cells that were exposed to the light died, while only 31 percent of cells that were kept in the dark died, New Scientist says.

The Scan

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