By bringing the field of photovoltaics into medicine, researchers hope to create a far more precise method of drug delivery for fighting cancer. That’s right: this cancer cure involves tiny photovoltaic particles like the kind used in solar cells.
One of the major drawbacks of chemotherapy is that it damages far more of the body than just the malignant tumors it’s used to fight. In order to target just the cancerous areas, and not hit everything on the way there, researchers from the University of Texas in El Paso created a tiny solar cell. They attached model drugs to each side of the cell, one of which was positively charged, the other negatively. Once the tiny solar devices are in the body, doctors would blast the tumor with an infrared laser, causing the pholtovoltaic particles to release the drugs.