HANNOVER MESSE 2019, 01 - 05 April
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Combating cancer with light

A daylight-active photocatalyst based opens up new possibilities.

Logo Karlsruher Institut für Technologie


Karlsruher Institut für Technologie

Exhibitor details
Exhibitor details
Logo Combating cancer with light

Product description

In spite of progress made in cancer treatment, the employment of chemotherapeutic agents or radiation therapy still bears risks and disadvantages.This is why science is focusing on alternative therapies such as photodynamic therapy. Here, a selection of substances that can be activated by light are entered into the diseased tissue. Irradiation with light triggers a chemical reaction, and the cancer cells are destroyed locally. So-called photocatalysts can be used as light-inducible substances. They are familiar from air and water purification, examples being titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. However, these substances are only of limited use in cancer therapy, since they are triggered solely by short-wave, ultraviolet (UV) light, which not only accounts for just a small share of daylight but also demonstrates a low penetration depth in the human body. In addition, UV light is harmful to cells. Scientists at the KIT Institute for Inorganic Chemistry (AOC) have developed a photocatalyst based on zinc tungstate that is predestined for skin cancer therapy. The novel nanoparticles respond to the higher, blue share of daylight, which can penetrate the subcutaneous tissue thanks to its higher light-wave length. Thus the photocatalyst is several times more active, and skin tumours occurring at a greater depth can be treated. A suspension of the zinc tungstate photocatalyst is applied to the diseased skin or injected into the top skin layer. There, it is initially entirely harmless for the human organism. The photocatalyst only starts to develop its effect when it is locally irradiated with blue light. Aggressive oxygen is formed that leads to the death of the diseased tumour cells. However, the healthy cells remain largely unaffected by the chemical reaction. The photocatalyst does not remain in the body but is decomposed and discharged with the cells that have been killed off. The photocatalyst is cheap to manufacture with a water-based method.

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Hall 2, Stand B16

(Main stand)

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