Photo therapy may effectively treat neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, a new study suggests.
Researchers discovered that it is possible to distinguish aggregations of the proteins, believed to cause the diseases, from the 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," said Piotr Hanczyc from Chalmers University of Technology.
"We have found a totally new way of discovering these structures using just laser light," said Hanczyc.
If the protein aggregates are removed, the disease is in principle cured. The problem until now has been to detect and remove the aggregates.
The researchers now harbour high hopes that photo acoustic therapy, which is already used for tomography, may be used to remove the malfunctioning proteins.
Today amyloid protein aggregates are treated with chemicals, both for detection as well as removal. These chemicals are highly toxic and harmful for those treated.
With multi photon laser the chemical treatment would be unnecessary. Nor would surgery be necessary for removing of aggregates.
Due to this discovery it might, thus, be possible to remove the harmful protein without touching the surrounding tissue, researchers said.
These diseases arise when amyloid beta protein are aggregated in large doses so they start to inhibit proper cellular processes.
Different proteins create different kinds of amyloids, but they generally have the same structure. This makes them different from the well-functioning proteins in the body, which can now be shown by multi photon laser technique.
The study at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, and the Polish Wroclaw University of Technology, was published in the journal Nature Photonics.