The concept uses nanoparticles or quantum dots that possess a bandgap that when an electron hole pair is generated by irradiating with photons above their bandgap would emit photons with a wavelength in the far ultraviolet (UV) region from about 300 down to 180 nanometers.
This is the so-called germicidal ultraviolet light regime whose peak is centered at about 270 nm where all organisms (viruses, bacteria, parasites and molds) or cells that contain DNA or RNA are susceptible to mitigation.
It has been shown by Shreier, et al (Thymine Dimerization in DNA is an Ultrafast Photoreaction, Science, Vol 315, 2 Feb. 2007, pgs 625-629) that when DNA, for example, is irradiated with UV light of 272 nm in wavelength the chemical bonds of the thymine base pairs of the DNA helix are broken and the ends dimerize to open up the helix thereby preventing it being a template for the production of another cell or organism resulting in apoptosis. By using femto-second time resolved infrared spectroscopy they found that the dimers are fully formed in about 1 picosecond. In this therapy concept the nanoparticle or quantum dot would first be made biocompatible with a coating such as dextrin to make it compatible with the body. Then an appropriate ligand, conjugate or monoclonal antibody would be attached to the particle that would be specific for attaching to the target organism or cell. In the case of cancer cells most have surface specific antigens that are unique to the cancer cell and not to normal cells. Monoclonal antibodies have and can be made to bind to these sites and not to normal cells. The treatment then would entail injecting these bioconjugated nanoparticles that possess the appropriate bandgap into the patient. The particles that did not attach would be excreted through the patient's renal system. After an appropriate interval the patient would be irradiated with x-rays in the KeV to MeV range. The particles would then emit large quantities of UV photons for every KeV or MeV absorbed x-ray photon that would disrupt the cell or organism's DNA that it was attached to leading to apoptosis of the cell or organism.
U.S. and international patents have been applied for on the concept and, currently, two cancer researchers are in the process of being licensed to carry out research and development on the concept for the treatment of cancer.