Many Conditions Being Treated With Light-Activated Medications


The newest breakthrough in medicine associates light-activated drugs released through red blood cells. The method revolutionizes the way medicine is delivered. This means that drugs can be delivered at exactly the right time and at the specific location where the disease is concentrated. The latest medicine delivery technique, Developed under the leadership of Professor David Lawrence of the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, involves releasing drugs stored in red blood cells by shining a light on the exact location of sickness. This could greatly cut down the amount of medicine needed to treat a disease.

Professor Lawrence and his team linked a drug molecule to vitamin B12, which was then reserved in red blood cells. The red blood cells carrying the compound disperse through the body for four months and can be activated on the exact location where the medical condition is by using light. The largest challenge for the team was to find out how long wavelength light can be used to disconnect the molecule bond between the drug molecule from vitamin B12. The issue with long wavelength light is that it can infiltrate deeper into the body but doesn’t have enough energy to sever molecule bonds.

To figure out this complication, the team introduced a weakened energy bond between the vitamin B12 and medicine compound. Attached to the weakened energy bond is a fluorescent cell that acts as an antenna that will capture the long wavelength light. When the fluorescent cell captures the long wavelength light, it uses the light to sever the weakened energy bond between the vitamin B12 and the medicine compound, thus releasing the drug on location.

The research aims to provide more adequate medicine delivery. This modernized medical technique also reduces possible side effects as it is activated only on the location where it is needed. “Those benefits could include avoiding surgery and the risk of infection, making anesthesia unnecessary and allowing people to treat themselves by shining a light on a problem area, such as an arthritic knee,” Professor Lawrence stated.


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