Italian researchers destroy tumors with laser beam, the results of the scientific study

Laser light has enormous potential for the study and treatment of tumors .
Laser beams capable of penetrating deep into tumor regions would be of vital importance for phototherapy , a set of cutting-edge biomedical techniques that use visible and infrared light to treat cancer cells or to activate drugs and biochemical processes . However, most biological tissue is optically opaque and absorbs incident radiation, and this represents the main obstacle to phototherapy treatments. Transmitting intense and localized light beams inside cellular structures is therefore one of the key challenges for biophotonics:

A research team of physicists and biotechnologists , led by Davide Pierangeli for the National Research Council, Claudio Conti for the Sapienza University of Rome, and Massimiliano Papi for the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart and the Agostino Gemelli Irccs University Hospital Foundation, has discovered that “optical tsunamis” can form within tumor cell structures , light waves of extreme intensity known in many complex systems, which can be exploited to transmit intense and concentrated laser light through three-dimensional pancreatic tumor samples.
Studying laser propagation through tumor spheroids– explains Davide Pierangeli – we realized that within a sea of ​​weak transmitted light there were optical modes of extreme intensity. These extreme waves represent a super-intense source of micrometre-sized laser light within the tumor structure . They can be used to activate and manipulate biochemicals ”.

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“Our study shows how extreme waves, which until now had remained unnoticed in biological structures, are capable of spontaneously transporting energy through tissues – continues Claudio Conti – and can be exploited for new biomedical applications. With this extreme laser beam – concludes Massimiliano Papiwe could probe and treat a specific region of an organ in a non-invasive way . We have shown how such light can cause targeted temperature increases that induce cancer cell death , and this has important implications for photothermal therapies.”

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The study, published in Nature Communications , demonstrates a totally new tool in cancer treatment.


Extreme transport of light in spheroids of tumor cells – Davide Pierangeli, Giordano Perini, Valentina Palmieri, Ivana Grecco, Ginevra Friggeri, Marco De Spirito, Massimiliano Papi, Eugenio DelRe, and Claudio Conti – Nature Communications (2023) https  :  //  doi . org/10.1038/ s41467-023-40379-7

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