Penn radiation oncologists and other cancer specialists are experienced in using light-sensitive medication together with low-level beams of light to destroy cancer cells. The Abramson Cancer Center was the first institution in the Delaware Valley with this technology.
Photodynamic Therapy, also known as photoradiation therapy, phototherapy, or photochemotherapy is used to treat certain types of cancer. It is based on the discovery that certain chemicals known as photosensitizing agents can kill organisms when they are exposed to a particular type of light. PDT destroys cancer cells through the use of a fixed-frequency laser light (an intense narrow beam of light) in combination with a photosensitizing agent.
An advantage of PDT is that it causes minimal damage to healthy tissue.
However, because the laser light currently in use cannot pass through more than about 3 centimeters of tissue (a little more than one and an eighth inch), PDT is mainly used to treat tumors on or just under the skin or on the lining of internal organs.
Learn more about Photodynamic Therapy at OncoLink.