Big Idea: Professor’s Invention Seeks to Destroy Cancer

Christian PariggerChristian Parigger, associate professor of physics at the University of Tennessee Space Institute in Tullahoma, wants to advance the fight against cancer.

His big idea: develop a technology that goes on a “seek and destroy” mission for cancerous tumors.

His invention uses a femtosecond laser, which means it pulses at speeds of one-quadrillionth of a second. The high speed enables the laser to focus in on a specific region to find and acutely map a tumor.

Big Orange. Big Ideas.“Using ultra-short light pulses gives us the ability to focus in a well confined region and the ability for intense radiation,” said Parigger. “This allows us to come in and leave a specific area quickly so we can diagnose and attack tumorous cells fast.”

The technology can be especially helpful to brain cancer victims. The imaging mechanism can non-invasively permeate thin layers of bone, such as the skull, and can help define a targeted treatment strategy for persistent cancer.

Parigger and his colleagues are working to bring the technology to the marketplace.

Learn more about Parigger’s technology in the video below.