Researchers Treat Skin Cancer with Cream and a Laser

Scientists have improved upon a novel way to treat skin cancer, where a light-sensitive drug in the form of a cream is rubbed on the skin, and a laser activates a component in the cream to destroy the cancerous cells. The technique, called Photodynamic Therapy, is noninvasive, relatively risk-free, and has shown to be successful in skin cancer cases that are difficult to treat.

Already, patients have been undergoing treatments using various types of Photodynamic Therapy, but doctors have hoped for greater success. Often, the success in individual patients is limited by the poor penetration of the active agent into the tumor.

The research group, composed of a team of pharmacists from Queen's University in the UK , has found a new way of administering the drug that can improve the amount of the active agent that crosses the skin barrier and gets to the required site.

The new technique could have several advantages compared with traditional skin cancer treatments such as surgical excision and radiotherapy. These techniques often don't work well for extremely large tumors or widespread skin cancer, and also leave scarring. Photodynamic Therapy has the potential to treat these difficult tumors with little side effect.

At least 1 million people in the US are diagnosed with skin cancer each year, and hopefully in the future, patients can receive an easier and non-invasive treatment.

Via: Innovations Report

Lisa Zyga
Science Blogger