Scientists Develop Highly-Precise Lasers that Remove Cancer without Damaging Healthy Tissues

This newly-developed laser system may help surgeons eliminate cancer with more precision. It’s a potent method that’s being developed by scientists in Scotland.

The experts from the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh hope that this method will help surgeons distinguish cancerous cells in a better resolution and eliminate them without damaging the cells around.

Professor Jonathan Shephard was given £1.2 million by the EPSRC to work on this system. It’s based on ultrafast picoseconds lasers which delivery energy in pulse series in one trillionth of a second.

Highly-Precise Laser System for Cancer Removal

The team has proved the method viable for colorectal cancers and is now working with the University of Leeds & Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust to create the new system intended for brain tumors.

According to Shephard, when their focus was on colorectal cancers, they proved that their laser system is able to eliminate cancerous cells by lowering the injuries caused on the healthy surrounding tissues.

Since these pulses are short, there’s not enough time to burn the tissues surrounding them, which is often the case with the current surgical methods.

They’re now building this system towards clinical application and are working to adapt it for head, neck, and brain cancers.

Removing all Cancerous Structures without Damaging Surrounding Tissues

The key for any cancer procedure is to remove all the cancerous cells; otherwise, the cancer will come back.

This is a test of precision and even small losses of healthy tissues and damages to vital structures surrounding the tumor can have functional consequences and impede the person’s quality of life.

The scientists are also focused on making a flexible and optical fibre-based system which will target and eliminate cancerous cells much smaller than the current tech available.

According to consultant surgeon at the Leeds trust, Professor David Jayne, the preciseness offered by lasers and the accurate imaging to differentiate between cancerous tissues and healthy ones will definitely better the surgeons’ ability to eliminate tumors successfully with the lowest risk of side effects for the patients.