Applications for photodynamic therapy

10/23/2018 12:00:00 AM

The two main commercial products are blue light and red light. Blue light works at the superficial level while red goes deeper to the sources of acne.


A study done in Europe over a six-month period used red light to treat basal cell carcinoma (BCC). This was done as an alternative to surgery for patients with BCC in hard-to-access or complicated locations such as the leg, back of the hand, parts of the face and scalp, and for patients on blood thinners. The study showed 90 percent clearance of cancer.

In a clinical setting, patients would come in for one or two treatments. The area is prepped, the tumor is curetted and a gel is applied, it’s allowed to incubate for an hour, then the patient goes under the light for ten minutes. At the one-month follow-up, the tumor is measured and if it hasn’t improved, the patient gets a second treatment with photodynamic therapy .

Photodynamic therapy can help reduce the risk of recurrence of cancer, so ‘regular’ patients who are candidates for surgery can also benefit from supplementing it with photodynamic therapy.

Another study used blue light to treat patients two months apart, and then followed up to assess recurrence rates. Those that responded had at least a 40 percent reduced risk of recurrence.

Source: Bhatia, N. (2018) Fall Fall Clinical Dermatology Conference, Las Vegas. October 19, 2018. PDT Update

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