Blood laser may sound bizarre but University of Michigan's Xudong Fan and his colleagues are mixing blood with indocyanine green (ICG) to produce a protein-powered laser. With this newest innovation, tumors might be easier to spot.
Developing The Blood Laser
Fan used three components in developing his blood laser: the IGC dye, blood and a conventional laser. According to Fan, ICG will not work by itself. It needs the blood for it to glow. The ICG dye has to be mixed with the blood for it to bind with the proteins in blood plasma. Then, the mixture should be taken in a small reflective cylinder. A conventional laser will be shot at the said container. A light from the blood will be emitted through this process.
How Does It Work In Spotting Tumors?
According to NewScientist, Fan said that the said mixture will make the laser glow much brighter than usual. He further explained that since ICG piles up in blood vessels and a tumor is actually a mass of tissue, doctors can use it to discover tumors. They just have to inject ICG into the patient. Then flash a laser at the skin. There will be a glow but it can only be detected by using an infrared camera.
Tests On Animal Tissue
Fan admitted that they have yet to test this on animal tissue. They want to ensure that the amount of laser that will be used is even lower than the recommended safety limits. He added that using it on a human body is the ultimate purpose.
Over the years, lasers have been developed from Jell-O by laser pioneers Theodor Hansch and Arthur Schawlow around 1970, from a human kidney cell by Harvard scientists on 2011 and from chlorophyll in plants by Fan and his colleagues earlier this year, according to Gizmodo. Laser has been used in medicine, industry, military, law enforcement and other fields.