When a team of Australian scientists used lasers to kill two tumours in mice, they discovered the laser could help the cancerous cells in the mice grow back.
The team at the University of Queensland said they found that the laser treatment resulted in a significant improvement in the ability of the tumours to grow and die.
“In mice treated with this combination of lasers and chemotherapy, they showed substantial and significant improvement and had very rapid and significant recovery,” Dr Chris Hatton, an associate professor of radiology and of molecular pathology at the university, said.
“We were really excited about the results.”
The researchers, from the Department of Radiology at the Queensland University of Technology, were working with the Australian Cancer Society to investigate whether laser treatment could be used to help treat a variety of cancers, including brain tumours.
Dr Hatton said laser treatments could potentially be used in combination with other treatments, including chemotherapy.
“For instance, chemotherapy is able to kill cancer cells by targeting certain enzymes, and this combination may be able to target those same enzymes in cancer cells,” he said.
Dr Chris, who is also a member of the research team, said the team had hoped to find out whether laser treatments might also be used for other cancers.
“It’s not known if this is the only use of laser therapy in other cancers, but we would hope to find that out,” he added.
The researchers hope to further investigate the use of lasers for cancer treatment in the future.
“I think we are very hopeful that we will see a lot more use of this,” Dr Hatterton said.
The study was published online on Tuesday in the journal Science Advances.