Lasers could be used to cure brain diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Creutzfeldt-Jakob, also known as mad cow disease, a new study has revealed.
A team of researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, and the Wroclaw University of Technology in Poland, have made the discovery, which suggests that such ailments could be eliminated without touching surrounding brain tissue. According to the study, published in the journal Nature Photonics, it is possible to differentiate aggregations of the proteins that are believed to cause the diseases from the well-functioning proteins in the body by using multi-photon laser technique.
“Nobody has talked about using only light to treat these diseases until now. This is a totally new approach and we believe that this might become a breakthrough in the research of diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease,” Piotr Hanczyc at Chalmers University of Technology said in a statement. “We have found a totally new way of discovering these structures using just laser light.”
Diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's arise when amyloid proteins are aggregated in large doses so that they start to inhibit proper cellular processes. Although different proteins create different kinds of amyloids, they generally have the same structure. This particular characteristic makes them different from the well-functioning proteins in the body.
According to scientists, if the protein aggregates can be removed, the disease would, in principle, be cured. However, it has been a challenge for researchers to detect and remove the aggregates. Now, it is hoped that photo acoustic therapy, which is already used for tomography, may be used to remove the malfunctioning proteins.
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Such a technique, scientists said, could also substitute highly toxic and harmful chemical-based treatments that are in use today to treat amyloid protein aggregates.
“With multi photon laser the chemical treatment would be unnecessary,” researchers said.