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Blue Light Used to Harden Tooth Fillings Stunts Tumor Growth

Posted Jun 29 2008 3:05pm

A blue curing light used to harden dental fillings also may stunt tumor growth, Medical College of Georgia researchers say.

“The light sends wavelengths of blue-violet light to the composite, which triggers hardening,” says Alpesh Patel, a rising MCG School of Dentistry junior. “The light waves produce free radicals that activate the catalyst and speed up polymerization of the composite resin. In oral cancer cells, though, those radicals cause damage that decreases cell growth and increases cell death.”

Mr. Patel, who has been working with Dr. Jill Lewis, associate professor of oral biology, Dr. Regina Messer, associate professor of oral rehabilitation and oral biology, and Dr. John Wataha, adjunct professor of oral rehabilitation and oral biology, studied 10 tumor-bearing mice, five treated with the light and five untreated.

He exposed half the mice to the blue light for 90 seconds a day for 12 days. Then the tumors were extracted and each one was split into two sections. Half were used to create slides for tissue analysis, and half were frozen to prepare protein extracts.

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