According to recent research, a new type of treatment for asbestos-related diseases, photodynamic light therapy (PDT), may help mesothelioma patients. Although PDT has been used to help treat other forms of cancer, it has only recently been linked to helping treat mesothelioma cancer.
PDT is a type of therapy that is carried out via a laser that creates light, and a photosensitizing chemical. Patients are first given the chemical, which is generally an agent that makes cells sensitive to light, such as Metvivia or photofrin. Once the cells become sensitive to light, usually around 72 hours after the chemical is administered, doctors shine the light, with a chosen wavelength, into the tumorous cells. The cells soon die afterwards.
With little or no side effects and no excessive scarring, PDT has many advantages for patients with mesothelioma. In addition, it’s generally less expensive and less invasive than other forms of treatment, such as surgery.
On the other hand, however, patients may experience adverse affects as well, such as light sensitivity for several weeks, including indoor lighting. Being out in the sun for even two minutes may also cause third degree sunburns.
Physicians such as Dr. Glatstein, of the University of Pennsylvania, have been using PDT as means to treat mesothelioma patients for numerous years, although the treatment is typically used for endobronchial and esophagus cancer. According to studies, however, mesothelioma patients’ survival rates increase by up to 41 months when PDT is used in conjunction with lung-sparing surgery.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) helps fund Dr. Glatstein’s treatment PDT treatment program and clinical trials, and hopes to understand how PDT can:
- Kill tumor cells
- Improve survival rates
- Improve quality of life
- Affect blood cells
In Dr. Glatstein’s clinical trial involving around 102 mesothelioma patients, experts hope to figure out how PDT helps the aforementioned issues and if it can one day be a treatment option in mesothelioma clinics and hospitals across the nation.
Meanwhile, PDT is still being used primarily to treat endobronchial and esophagus cancer. In fact, in a past study involving PDT treatment for patients with stage II through IV bronchial lung cancer, results showed that the treatment decreased obstruction by up to 90% in many patients, and the overall quality of the patients’ lives improved significantly.
Currently, PDT treatment works best on cancer that is localized, meaning it is localized to a certain part of the body only, and has not yet spread to other parts.
For more detailed information on additional treatments for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, we invite you to fill out our contact form today for a free, comprehensive Mesothelioma and Asbestos Guide. Each guide is packed with invaluable details on treatment options, symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and long-term outlook for those who live an asbestos-related disease.
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