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Photodynamic Therapy: using light in a gentle approach to cancer therapy by remote control

3 December 2008


Professor Stephen Bown (UCL National Medical Laser Centre)
The days of heroic surgery for cancer are receding. As imaging techniques get more sophisticated, the challenges are first to define the true extent of disease and then to ask if the tumour can be destroyed where it arises in such a way that the treated area heals without further intervention and with minimal general upset to the patient. Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a technique that involves giving the patient a special drug, which is subsequently activated by light, usually from a laser. It is particularly exciting as the cosmetic and functional results are outstanding and for internal organs, it can be applied by “remote control” – light delivered under image guidance by laser fibres passed through needles - no need for open surgery.

What better way to get rid of nasty bits of tissue without upsetting all the nice bits!

Page last modified on 03 dec 08 13:05


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