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Technology

Can a Glowing Band-Aid Treat Skin Cancer?

DiscoblogBy Boonsri DickinsonMay 5, 2009 2:48 AM
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It turns out Band-Aids have more potential than simply keeping germs out of a cut—and we aren’t even talking about the Neosporin upgrades or the water-resistant kind. A U.K. company, Polymertronics, has figured out how to make Band-Aid-like bandages glow, emitting light that could treat skin cancer. One way to kill skin cancer is to zap it with light—a method called photodynamic therapy. When a specific wavelength of light hits cancerous cells, oxygen forms around the cells until it kills them. Currently, patients must visit a hospital or clinic to receive photodynamic therapy. But the new glowing bandages, made of plasters embedded with light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), will allow skin cancer patients to treat themselves at home, making treatment faster and more accessible. Here's how it works: When the OLED-filled strip is placed on the skin with a topical photosensitive cream, voltage is applied from an external power source, causing the OLEDs to light up, and the treatment begins. The company hopes to bring this device to market in a few years — but first it must first undergo human trials. (Any volunteers?) Related Content: 80beats: Ovarian Cancer Screening DISCOVER: Drugs That Target Cancer DISCOVER: McCain's Melanoma

Image: Polymertronics Limited

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