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Lasers And Photodynamic Drugs Zap Breast Cancer

By January 7, 2010

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Breast cancer grows in the dark, low-oxygen, sealed environment of your body. It is usually removed with surgery and treated with chemotherapy and radiation. But medical lasers may be able to shed some targeted light on a new treatment for breast cancer. Scientists at Virginia Tech have been working with researchers at Canadian company Theralase to test a combination of photodynamic compounds (PDCs) and medical lasers on breast cancer cells. Not yet tested on people, the labs test results of the laser and PDC combination looks very exciting. Roger Dumoulin-White, President and CEO of Theralase announced that in-vitro testing of Theralase photodynamic compounds caused the destruction of breast cancer cells. Dr. Lothar Lilge, principal investigator of this study, is very happy with the study results. "Results indicate that these PDCs can destroy cancer cells when light-activated, even in low-oxygen environments. Low-oxygen environments prove challenging for most other cancer therapies, which is why these PDCs are very attractive for solid tumors such as cancers of the lung, breast, prostate and brain."

Photodynamic therapy is a type of cancer treatment that combines special drugs with specific wavelength of light. Each photodynamic compound is activated when it is exposed to a matching light, typically aimed at the body from an external source and calibrated for a specific distance to penetrate tissues. When the photodynamic drugs meet the light waves, they generate oxygen and cause the death of nearby cells. Cancer cells retain photodynamic drugs longer than healthy cells do, allowing doctors to give you targeted treatment for cancer, with minimal damage to the rest of your body. Photodynamic therapy can cut off angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels to the tumor - and it may send your immune system into action, causing it to attack the cancer where it lives.

Photodynamic drugs and related treatments must be extensively tested and approved by the FDA before they can be used for treatments, so we may have to wait some time before agencies in the United States and Canada give Theralase the thumbs-up. My hope is that when clinical trials begin, this combination of light and specially-targeted drugs will be used on metastatic breast cancers like Inflammatory Breast Cancer, as well as more well-contained forms of this disease. It would be great to find a way to stop the rampant spread of such cancers, without compromising the quality of life for patients.

Would you try photo dynamic therapy, if it were offered in a clinical trial? Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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August 9, 2010 at 10:08 am
(1) Shaniqa says:

No. Lumpectomy with radiation does the same thing. The same amount of tissue (the tumor) is removed, and the same amount of surrounding tissue is killed. Moreover, surgery removes the cancer through an incision; whereas Photodynamic therapy relies on the tumor shrinking, i. e. being eliminated through the bloodstream, liver, and kidneys. Meanwhile, all that cancer, dead or alive, circulates through the body. And, when the tumor shrinks away, the void left behind is going to be about the same size as the void left by lumpectomy. In either case, reconstruction is an option, but with lumpectomy, you are reconstructing a surgically defined void, instead of waiting for the tumor to dissolve away and scar up and seeing what shape and size of void needs to be filled. Maybe in 20 years, I’ll be proved wrong and Photodynamic therapy will have proven itself. Now, at best, it seems you end up with the same amount of disfigurement as lumpectomy and less assurance that you have effectively treated the cancer.

December 14, 2010 at 9:11 pm
(2) wendy meng says:

I’d like to be contacted for further development of your research and possible clinical trials.

December 22, 2010 at 10:46 pm
(3) Alice Damon says:

Definitely interested in a clinical trial involving photodynamic therapy and metast. breast cancer. Thanks

January 4, 2011 at 7:25 pm
(4) Holly Broadhead says:

Yes I would consider theralase, Pleaase let me know if it our something similar is now avalaible.

February 26, 2011 at 8:16 am
(5) lin says:

Yes, of course. While a ‘well contained’ tumor can have a lumpectomy, there are too many other types of tumors that are not easily operable. I find it disturbing that this procedure is approved for lung cancer in the US, and is in use in other countries, but not for breast cancer? Billions are poured in to breast cancer research, yet there are viable procedures out there and our FDA still has not approved them. I have IBC and would jump at any unique oportunity to kick this nasty disease back.

June 29, 2011 at 5:27 pm
(6) Deb Thomas says:

Please read this if you have cancer.
I have chosen to have a lumpectomy and after considerable research and advice from an oncologist, and surgeon, I was not happy about the prospect of radiotherapy. I was told that there can still be long term complications for lung and heart tissue (depending on which side is irradiated) and local cancers for the skin. I was also told that chemo would only increase my 5 year probability of survival by a standard 4 to 7 % – so have decided it it not for me, because of the poor reward and the depleted immune system. I dispensed with a sential node biopsy because the therapy will deal systemically with everything, I have a grade 1 tumour (removed yesterday as a day case) and am opting for PDT and Sono dynamic therapy with the Dove Clinic in the UK. I know a surgeon who has chosen this for his own wife so I am going for it – I need a new car, but am spending on my health instead! The science behind the therapy I is documented on the reductionist level and the clinical trial level. The disadvantage is that the research papers are not as numerous as for conventional therapy because this is new. However the clinic I am going to has been using this machine for 6 years.
I am also excluding all dairy as I am oetsrogen positive, plus am taking loads of supplements and supergreens and juices with wheatgrass (easily grown). Look as the PLANT diet by the author of the same name.
Blue skies and be well to all out there.

October 30, 2011 at 8:35 pm
(7) Stark says:

There may be clinical trials for therapy such as this available. Being newly diagnosed with breast cancer (stage II, triple negative, 37yrs old) I have been reading everything I can get my hands on. In my research I stumbled across an organization called – The International Strategic Cancer Alliance (their website seems to be down today). I can’t vouch for them at this point but I do know they are interested in individuals with breast cancer and prostate cancer. Check out their Facebook page. I spoke with someone from this group and he mentioned a clinical trial for photodynamic therapy (don’t know if I’m a candidate at this point). Just wanted to share this in case someone out their was really interested in exploring the possibility of this (again I know very little about the trial and the organization at this point – explore for yourself). : )

Much Love!

December 6, 2011 at 8:00 pm
(8) Hilde Hughes says:

Yes, I would participate right now if it was offered. I have a large chest wall tumor (breast cancer spread) and I am refusing any chemo or radiation. Please if there is a trial or any other study, I would volunteer right now to go and do it to extend my life.please let me know if there is anything available. Hilda Hughes, ph (559) 776-1635

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