Light bulbs could help fight tumors

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commercial light bulbJERUSALEM - Scientists in Israel say they hope to use highly concentrated light from commercial light bulbs to fight tumors, providing an effective and cheap replacement for laser surgery.

“We used off-the-shelf technology as an alternative to laser beams,” said Jeffrey Gordon of Ben-Gurion University in southern Israel, lead researcher in a new study on the subject.

The study, recently published in the Journal of Biomedical Optics, showed that light from an ultra-bright commercial bulb, similar to that used in movie projectors, could be concentrated by a special optical system to burn away healthy tissue in rats.

“For the first time ever we were able to kill tissue using the non-laser lamp,” Gordon said on Tuesday.

He said the tests would be repeated on cancerous tissue in larger animals and eventually in humans in the next few years, in the hope of producing similar results with malignant tumors.

Laser systems currently used to treat tumors can cost up to $100,000. Gordon said the new light bulb systems may eventually be sold for about $1,000.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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