The Grapevine

Astronomers Searching Stars, Planets Find Way To Treat Breast, Skin Cancer

Scientists have been desperately seeking ways to fight cancer. A number of studies already looked at animals and unique chemicals to find potential cure but one team looked at the sky to find a new treatment. 

Astronomers analyzing stars and planets discovered that the same technique they have been using to explore the universe can be used to help fight breast and skin cancer. Researchers said it could help develop a rapid diagnostic test that will eliminate unnecessary biopsies. 

Astronomers rely on the detection and analysis of light to study objects across the galaxy and beyond. The researchers at the University of Exeter in England said that the same computer codes to detect light can be applied in human tests to analyze traces of cancer.

The codes scan the tissue affected by the disease to find tiny deposits of calcium released by cancer in breasts. The disease can be detected through a shift in the wavelength of light. 

“Light is fundamental to a diverse range of medical advances, like measuring blood oxygenation in premature babies, or treating port-wine stains with lasers,” Charlie Jeynes, one of the researchers from the University of Exeter, said in a statement. “So there is a natural connection with astronomy, and we're delighted to use our work to take on cancer.”

The same computer codes also work for non-melanoma skin cancer. The researchers are developing another technology to simulate the effects of light-activated drugs and light-heated nanoparticles as treatments. 

“Advances in fundamental science should never be seen in isolation,” Jeynes said. “Astronomy is no exception, and though impossible to predict at the outset, its discoveries and techniques often benefit society.” 

The team aims to conduct larger clinical trials to further understand how their new techniques work on humans. 

Breast, Skin Cancer In US

Estimates show that one in eight women in the U.S. are at risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime, according to Breastcancer.org. in 2019, up to 268,600 new cases of the disease are expected to be diagnosed in American women.

Skin cancer also affects a large number of people in the country. It has been considered the most common cancer for Americans. 

The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that up to 9,500 people in the U.S. are being diagnosed with skin cancer daily. 

stars Astronomers analyzing stars and planets discovered that the same technique they have been using to explore the universe can be used to help fight breast and skin cancer. Pixabay

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