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Skin cancer

Light-emitting bandage heralded as skin cancer treatment breakthrough

Wednesday, November 01, 2006 by: Jessica Fraser
Tags: skin cancer, sun exposure, cancer therapies


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(NewsTarget) Scottish scientists have developed a light-emitting, portable bandage that has been shown to fight skin cancer in a quicker, less painful way than conventional treatments.

The metallic, adhesive bandage was created by physicist Ifor Samuel of the University of St. Andrews and dermatologist James Ferguson of Ninewells Hospital Dundee, and contains its own light source connected to a small, portable battery.

The patch uses an organic diode that emits lights when a low-voltage electric current passes through it, and is portable enough that patients can move around during their daily treatment.

"It can be worn by the patient in a similar way to a sticking plaster (bandage), while the battery is carried like an iPod," Samuel said.

The device builds on an existing conventional treatment method called photodynamic therapy treatment (PDT), which uses intense light to help a topical pharmaceutical cream be absorbed into the skin. Traditional PDT treatments tend to be painful and require patients to lie beneath a light for several hours.

"This new device will have a major impact on the treatment of skin cancers," said Ferguson. "The light-emitting patch is a low-cost, portable and convenient method of treatment. Our initial pilot trials have already shown its effectiveness and we find patients requesting this treatment over conventional methods."

Consumer health advocate Mike Adams, author of "The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D," says many consumers are unaware that light can be used to treat skin cancer.

"Some people are amazed by this technology, but others already know about treating cancer with light," Adams said. "It's called sunlight, and it's the best cancer prevention technology in the universe.

"The only reason sunlight isn't promoted is because drug companies and hospitals can't charge people for exposure to it," Adams said.

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