Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a treatment process where light is combined with drugs, called photosensitizing agents to kill cancer causing cells. The drugs begin to work only if they are activated by few types of light like laser light. Photo dynamic therapy is also referred to as photo radiation therapy, phototherapy, or photo chemotherapy. This concept of therapy has been prevalent for over 100 years. This therapy is a non-invasive treatment and is helpful in destroying cancer cells. Typically comprehensive treatment packages for pdt can cost upwards of $2,000.
The photosensitizing agent (such as porphyrins) are either injected into the bloodstream or put on the skin based on the part of the body that is being treated. The cancer cells tend to absorb the drug over a period of time. After this process, laser light is applied on the area that needs to be treated. The light facilitates the drug to react with oxygen, which in turn produces a chemical that kills the cancer cells. Photodynamic therapy may also destroy the blood vessels that feed the cancer cells while alerting the immune system to fight the cancer.
The time frame from when the drug is given to when the light is applied is termed as the drug-to-light interval. This interval can range from a couple of hours to a couple of days based on the drug used. Studies indicate that this therapy can be as effective as surgery or radiation therapy in treating certain kinds of cancers and pre-cancers. PDT is generally performed as an outpatient procedure. This therapy can be repeated and can also be combined with surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.
Photodynamic Therapy Procedure
Benefits of Photodynamic Therapy
Limitations of Photodynamic Therapy
Photodynamic Therapy Acne
Acclaimed as the wonder therapy for acne, photo dynamic therapy for acne is gaining popularity. Results vary from person to person depending on the severity of acne. This therapy controls further acne breakout and also improves the skin texture. It also softens and reduces acne scars. The treatment works on the overactive sebaceous gland and not just on the bacteria that infects the follicle. Photodynamic therapy for acne is very effective in treating severe cases of cystic acne.
Levulan topical photosensitizing solution is applied on affected areas and exposed to intense pulsed light. This solution is made from aminolevulinic acid or ALA. This is a naturally occurring substance within the body. PDT has been successful on rosacea, wrinkles and discolorations. Reduced inflammation and redness was noticed as also collagen stimulation.
Benefits of photodynamic therapy for acne
Limitations of Photodynamic Therapy for Acne