Can skin cancer be treated with light?

Washington, Oct 19 (ANI): Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, are exploring new ways to image cancerous lesions using LEDs that might advance a technique for treating cancer called photodynamic therapy (PDT).

In PDT, photosensitizing chemicals that absorb light are injected into a tumor, which is then exposed to light. The chemicals generate oxygen radicals from the light energy, destroying the cancer cells.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently approve PDT for the treatment of esophageal and lung cancer.

"Through this imaging modality, it is now possible to assess how the therapeutic light will travel throughout the affected tissue, quantify the drug present within the lesion and monitor its efficacy during treatment," said Rolf Saager, who works in the lab of Anthony Durkin at the Beckman Laser Institute at UC Irvine.

Saager and colleagues hope that this imaging technique will provide a better map for targeting and optimizing photodynamic therapy for basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer.

The next step for their ongoing experiment will be to enable the therapeutic aspects of the instrument and monitor the tissue dynamics during PDT treatment regimens.

The researchers will describe their work at the Optical Society's (OSA) 94th annual meeting, Frontiers in Optics (FiO) 2010 at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center in Rochester, N.Y. during late October. (ANI)

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