Interesting research is coming out of Virginia Tech:
If you have ever covered a flashlight with your hand and seen the red light that still comes through, then you have seen light in the therapeutic window – that magic wavelength that is not absorbed or reflected away by tissue. Scientists believe that they can use light at that wavelength to signal manmade molecules to release drugs at disease sites in the body.
Such possibilities will be discussed in a poster and a talk by Virginia Tech researchers presenting at the 229th American Chemical Society national meeting in San Diego on March 13-17.
Researchers in Karen Brewer’s group at Virginia Tech have designed supramolecular complexes that can hold and, when signaled by light (photoinitiated), will generate pharmaceutical compounds that can cleave DNA, such as in a tumor cell. “The challenge has been that tissue blocks light so we can’t signal molecules deep within the body to deliver drug therapy,” said Brewer, associate professor of chemistry in Virginia Tech’s College of Science.
Matthew Mongelli, of Maywood N.J., a postdoctoral associate in chemistry, and his colleagues in chemistry and biology at Virginia Tech, have been working with Theralase Technologies Inc. to design molecular systems that use light that is in the therapeutic window. Starting with a complex with known DNA cleaving qualities, they changed the light absorber unit to one that responds to the red wavelength.