You might think that solar power and the research on cancerous tumors have no association. However, a US couple who work in different fields at the Michigan State University has actually found one.
Sophia and Richard Lunt, Michigan State University researchers are used to discuss their work during neighborhood walks. One of these walks helped them use the fruitful findings reached by Richard in improving the quality of fluorescent dyes to uncover tumors and attacking them.
Richard, professor of chemical engineering and materials science, has managed to develop those dyes in order to improve the solar cells' capacity to absorb light and convert it into power.
Sophia, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, believed that this development could overcome the challenges facing fluorescent dyes used in diagnosing and treating tumors.
Cancer patients are usually injected with fluorescent "markers" dye that lights the tumor regions to help surgeon determine the cancerous cells and remove through the traditional methods or phototherapy.
However, these dyes, mainly the so-called "theranostics" had shortcomings, such as low brightness, high toxicity to cells, poor tissue penetration and unwanted side effects. These shortcomings have been addressed in the improved fluorescent dye developed by Richard.
The experiments conducted by Sophia showed that the improved fluorescent dye led to good results when used in the lab on cells of lung, breast, and skin cancers, as well as when used in experiments on mice with tumors. The study was published in the Scientific Report journal on October 25.
In a report published by the Michigan State University, Richard said: "The improved fluorescent dye has accelerated the chemical reactions with light in solar cells, the same advantage that Sophia benefited from in fighting cancer cells."
The couple applied for a patent for their work and look forward to start clinical trials.