Light activated therapy:


PHOTODYNAMIC THERAPY  USED IN
CANCER TREATMENT
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a
treatment that uses a drug, called a
photosensitizer, and a particular type
of light. When photosensitizers are
exposed to a specific wavelength of
light, they produce a form of oxygen
that kills nearby cells.
In the first step of PDT for cancer
treatment, a photosensitizing agent is
injected into the bloodstream. The
agent is absorbed by cells all over the
body but stays in cancer cells longer
than it does in normal cells.
Approximately 24 to 72 hours after
injection  when most of the agent has
left normal cells but remains in cancer
cells, the tumor is exposed to light. The
photosensitizer in the tumor absorbs
the light and produces an active form
of oxygen that destroys nearby cancer
cells.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
PHOTOFRIN
Injection of PHOTOFRIN is the first in a
two-part treatment called
photodynamic therapy (PDT). By itself,
PHOTOFRIN is inactive. However,
when PHOTOFRIN is put in the
presence of a laser (visible red light of
a particular wavelength) it becomes
active. When injected, PHOTOFRIN
goes to the tissues. What makes PDT
with PHOTOFRIN effective is that
PHOTOFRIN is attracted to and lingers
in some tissues, especially High-Grade
Dysplasia associated with Barrett’s
esophagus and cancer cells.
When the red laser is turned on,
PHOTOFRIN is activated and the High-
Grade Dysplasia or cancer cells are
destroyed. The laser creates red light,
not heat, so there is no burning
sensation associated with
PHOTOFRIN  PDT treatment. Fiber
optics that are specially designed to
conduct laser light are thin, flexible,
transparent strands, similar to fishing
lines. Made by Axcan Pharma


NEW DRUG FOR SENTISIZING
Earlier PDT drugs meant that the
patient's entire body was sensitive to
light for up to three months, increasing
the risk of sunburn. But a new drug
called 5-aminolaevulinic acid (ALA) is
only light sensitive for around a day
and so carries far less risk of sunburn.
The drug is made by Biosynth.

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