Innovation

Scientists To Use Light To Regenerate Damaged Organs In Latest Breakthrough

Many Sci-Fi films already introduced the idea of using lasers to treat wounds and regenerate damaged organs fast. But that procedure may soon come into reality with the latest discovery by researchers in Italy. 

The team at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) in Milan found a way to use visible light to facilitate the formation of new blood vessels in the body. They said the latest breakthrough could lead to new approach to regenerative medicine.

The researchers added their study is the first to show that it is possible to manage formation of tissue cells using light and biocompatible materials. They tested the new procedure, called it "optoceutics," with the progenitor cells found in the endothelial tissue. 

During lab tests, the team were able to start formation of new blood vessels using optoceutics. They said the growth required only short pulses of visible light, which makes the technique less invasive.

The study, published in the journal Science Advances, suggests the new procedure could lead to developments in the treatments for cardiovascular diseases.

"We are talking about a completely new technique that could lead us to important outcomes in tissue engineering,” IIT researcher Maria Rosa Antognazza said in a statement. “The use of light as a stimulus is much more versatile and much less invasive compared to the use of electrodes.”

Regenerative medicine aims to repair, regenerate or replace cells, tissues and organs that are damaged by defects, diseases, injuries or aging and to help people regain normal body functions. Antognazza said future regenerative treatments that would use optoceutics can target more specific cells and can be minimally invasive.

“The purpose is to create a new area of investigation, which we call ‘optoceutics,’ able to walk side by side with pharmaceutic and electroceutical technology with huge application potential," she said. 

To date, doctors use gene therapy and biomedical engineering for cell or tissue repair. But these techniques require chemicals, drugs and physical stimuli and lack selectivity and reversibility. 

Antognazza and her colleagues plan to continue developing their new regenerative technique. The researchers said the next steps would focus on improving the effectiveness of optoceutics for tissue regeneration using other cell models. 

Laser light Researchers from Italy developed a new technique that uses visible light to form new blood vessels and help repair damaged cells, tissue and organs. Pixabay

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