Scientists at the Center for Laser Applications at the University of Tennessee Space Institute in Tullahoma have developed a laser that can target and destroy cancer tumors non-invasively. This technology uses ultra-short light pulses to zero in on the exact tumor location, preventing it from damaging other tissue in the process. "It's sort of like we shine light on you and predict remotely what might be wrong," said Christian Parigger, associate professor of physics at the University of Tennessee. Parigger and associate professor of mechanical, aerospace, and biomedical engineering Jacqueline Johnson created the technology. After the laser maps the location of the tumor, increased radiation will burn it off.
The researchers say this technology is both easier and more cost-effective than the more invasive treatments commonly used. It's potential use is particularly promising in brain cancer victims due to its non-invasive nature, the laser's ability to go through thin bone like the skull, and the femtosecond laser radiation which according to Parigger helps, "avoid heating up too many other things that you do not want heated." Now that the technology has been developed, Parigger and his colleagues are in the process of commercializing it and making it widely available.