A new LED light bulb has the potential to save lives in the battle against skin cancer, and researchers at the National Science Foundation (NSF) are using it to illuminate skin cancer patients with a glow that can be turned on and off.
The light-emitting diode (LED) light bulb is already being used in many of the world’s leading health care facilities, including hospitals and medical clinics, as well as in some light-sensitive applications such as clothing, toys, and home lighting.
It also is used in the home, but its use in the clinic is more limited.
In order to make this glow, researchers at NERC and other research organizations had to combine the ability to create a high-intensity laser light source with the ability of the light to turn on and turn off.
The result is a bulb that can light up skin cells and other cells that are dying.
“If you look at the amount of light in the room, the more cells you have, the better the outcome is,” said study co-author Roshan Singh, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and biomedical sciences at NRC.
The research team at NEC was able to get a high enough amount of lumens per watt to create light that is both bright enough to illuminate a patient’s skin, but also a light source that does not cause the cells in a patient to die.
“In a light bulb, you get a very high amount of energy, but the amount you can get out of a light is limited,” Singh said.
“In this light, we were able to use a very low amount of electricity to turn the light on and we were also able to turn it off.”
The team is currently developing a device that will allow the light source to be used in light therapy, but for now, the researchers are using this light bulb as a “gateway device” to see if the same effect can be achieved in other types of medical applications.
“We’ve developed a prototype device that is able to produce a high intensity laser light and we’re working with the National Institutes of Health to make it commercially available,” Singh added.
The work was funded by NSF grants NS096996, NS096879 and NS098879.###