Distinguishing healthy from unhealthy tissue is one of the big challenges when dealing with cancer. Since cancer is derived from healthy tissue, there are many similarities between them that make it hard to target it specifically. This is especially important when cancer is spread in multiple places throughout the body, as opposed to a single tumor that can be removed locally.
In this study, bacteria modified to make them safer were injected into mice with tumors. The bacteria alone were capable of doing some damage to the tumors, and this damage happened to make the tumors darker. Using this color change, the scientists targeted the tumors with lasers to heat them up and kill them in an isolated manner. This had the added benefit of inducing an immune response against the cancer that could target it throughout the body.