Ultraviolet (UV) light could potentially replace chemotherapy as a cancer treatment.

In a novel approach developed by scientists at the University of Texas San Antonio, aggressive breast cancers have been successfully shrunk using Ultraviolet light.

This non-invasive technique causes cancer cells to self-destruct, killing the tumour without affecting healthy tissue. This could revolutionise cancer treatment, improving survival rates without the need for chemotherapy and its terrible side effects.

The new cancer treatment method was developed by Matthew Gdovin, the university’s associate professor at the Department of Biology. The therapy involves injecting a compound called nitrobenzaldehyde into the tumour, reported the Tech Times. When this is blasted with a beam of ultraviolet light it makes the tissue acidic, triggering the cancer cells to commit cell suicide. Professor Gdovin estimates that  in just two hours up to 95 percent of the targeted cancer cells can be eradicated using this method.

The technique was tested on mice with triple negative breast cancer, the hardest to treat form of breast cancer, and showed that tumour growth could be halted resulting in survival rates being doubled compared to traditional therapies. What’s more, the UV therapy only targets cancer cells, meaning that healthy tissue is not affected. This means that side effects such as hair loss, fatigue and infections associated with chemotherapy can be avoided.

“There are so many types of cancer for which the prognosis is very poor. We’re thinking outside the box and finding a way to do what for many people is simply impossible,” said Gdovin.

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