Scientists associated with the University of California, Irvine believe that skin cancer can be treated successfully with the aid of light. The details of the research are likely to be revealed at the 94th annual meeting of the Optical Society (OSA) called Frontiers in Optics (FiO) 2010 to be held on Oct. 24-28. The Rochester Riverside Convention Center will serve as the venue for the meeting. Photodynamic Therapy or PDT is a technique based on imaging the cancerous lesions with the help of LEDs.
The procedure for PDT involves injecting photosensitizing chemicals which are known to absorb light into the cancerous tumors. The tumors are then exposed to light thus allowing the chemicals to produce oxygen radicals from light thereby destroying the cancerous cells. PDT has already been approved by the FDA as a suitable method for treating both esophageal as well as lung cancer.
Rolf Saager and Kristen Kelly, M.D attached to the Anthony Durkin laboratory, Beckman Laser Institute; UC Irvine along with Modulated Imaging Inc thinks that the lack of suitable imaging techniques which can target and monitor the efficacy of PDT might prove to be a hindrance in treating skin cancer effectively by PDT.
The team has now succeeded in creating a new technique based on spatial frequency domain imaging which consists of five differently colored LEDs. The LEDs make distinct patterns while illuminating the skin revealing the underlying biochemistry of the skin tissues along with the various pigments.
The method was tried on a small group of skin cancer patients who were yet to begin treatment. The entire procedure was over by 5 to 10 seconds and the results were revealed via 30 micron resolution images. The details collected from the images showed the various optical properties of the lesions including the oxygenation of the skin tissues along with the distribution of the photosensitizing drug.
Saager and his associates hope that PDT would equip them with an effective way of targeting and optimizing a therapy for basal cell carcinoma, the commonest type of skin cancer.
Source: Public release By Optical Society of America on 18th October 2010.