Laser Focus World highlights UC research that uses light to restore cell function

Laser Focus World magazine recently highlighted University of Cincinnati research in its weekly "Photonics Hot List" YouTube show.

The show highlighted recently published research out of the lab of UC's Jiajie Diao, PhD, that shows early indications that light can be used as a treatment for certain diseases, including cancer.

Hundreds of mitochondria are constantly coming together (a process called fusion) and dividing into smaller parts (a process called fission) to stay balanced in healthy cells. But when mitochondria are not functioning properly, there is an imbalance of this process of fission and fusion, which can lead to a number of mitochondrial diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and certain cancers.

The researchers used light to activate proteins that bring together parts of the cell to achieve mitochondrial fission, helping to bring cells back into balance.

“We found that it can recover the mitochondrial function,” said Diao, associate professor in the Department of Cancer Biology in UC’s College of Medicine and a University of Cincinnati Cancer Center member. “Some of the cells can even go back to normal. This proves that by just using some simple light stimulation we can at least partially recover the mitochondrial function of the cell.”

Watch the Photonics Hot List segment. (Note: Segment begins around 2:51 mark.)

Read more about Diao's research.

Featured photo at top of Jiajie Diao working in his lab. Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Marketing + Brand.

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