OMG! This Photodynamic Therapy on Mesothelioma

Photodynamic Therapy on Mesothelioma

The mesothelioma is a rare cancer that can be developed in the protective liner of various organs in the body, called the Mesothelium. It is considered incurable and almost always occurs as a result of exposure to asbestos. There are several factors that make mesothelioma difficult to deal with traditional methods, such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. First, it is generally not diagnosed until it has reached an advanced stage. Its proximity to the main organs, lungs and heart, also make surgery and radiation risk. And because it extends through the sheath that surrounds these organs, instead of forming a discrete tumor, it is more difficult to surgically remove.

Currently, the best established therapy regime combines these treatments, whenever possible, in a multi-modal approach. However, many mesothelioma patients find the side effects of such an aggressive treatment too debilitating, and opt for managing their pain. Because of this, several experimental treatments are being developed and analyzed for use with this mortal form of cancer. One of these is photodynamic therapy.

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a cancer treatment that uses a combination of medications, oxygen and light to kill cancer cells. The theory underlying PDT is that cancer cells treated with photosynthesizing drugs will die when medications are exposed or lit by a specific type of light. Photosensitizer agents, the type of medications used in PDT, are medications that are activated only when exposed to light that is a specific wavelength.

Patients are injected for the first time with one of several types of photosynthesizing drugs. The medication accumulates in cancer cells, while healthy cells expel the drug. The absorption of the drug can take several days. At this point, the cells are exposed to a laser light, which is administered by means of an optical fiber device. The light activates the photoshine drug, causing a reaction with a kinetic oxygen form in the body. This reaction kills the cancer cell.

A crucial element for the success of PDT is the interval of drug in light. This is the amount of time between the intravenous injection of the drug and exposure to the drug of laser light. This window will vary from a drug to the drug. Depending on the type of drug used, it is not absorbed by a healthy tissue, or it is pushed from healthy cells faster than cancer cells. This makes it very important that the treatment of light is carried out in the most optimal period of time, when most healthy cells have expelled the medication.

Photodynamic mesothelioma therapy has several advantages over other therapies, including:

  • Long-term side effects seem to be non-existent
  • The therapy can be repeated many times if necessary.
  • You can point to a tumor with great precision.
  • It is less invasive than surgery.
  • Little or no pain is associated with the treatment.

Although photosytitizing drugs can travel throughout the body, treatment is effective only in the areas of the body that are exposed to light. Treatment can leave photosensitive patients. Patients should avoid sunlight and a bright light for at least 30 days after treatment, although photosensitivity can last up to three months. During this time, the patient should wear long-sleeved shirts, sunglasses, wide-wing hats, long pants, socks and shoes. Sunlight must be avoided; The sunscreen will not be effective, since it does not prevent photosensitivity.

Other side effects include redness and swelling of the skin. Patients may also experience difficulty breathing, fever and vulnerability to pneumonia or bronchitis. In general, however, the photodynamic therapy of mesothelioma seems to have fewer side effects than chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Photodynamic mesothelioma therapy is not a cure for this type of cancer, which is considered incurable. In addition, this treatment is still in the clinical trial stage and its effectiveness in the treatment of mesothelioma has not been determined. However, as the trials continue and best photosynthesizing medications are developed, it may offer hope to those people who are diagnosed with this devastating cancer.

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