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Light-Sensitive Drug Treats Mesothelioma

The Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York has long been recognized for the cutting-edge work they do fighting many firms of cancer. For years, in partnership with the Vattikuti Foundation, they have accepted Vattikuti International Fellows to study colorectal robotic surgery under Dr. Khurshid Guru in their ATLAS Program. Dr. Thomas Dougherty, who is a research Scientist in their Department of Experimental Biology, has been developing the treatment for Mesothelioma (specifically: lung cancer) that uses a safe, light-sensitive drug in a process called Photodynamic Therapy.

The light-sensitizing drug porfimer sodium, is injected into the patient, where as it circulates in the bloodstream, it collects in cancer tissue, where it remains. In healthy tissue, it is naturally removed. When exposed to light- in this case laser light- it destroys the cancer. There is an ongoing study to determine if a handheld light can be used to effectively activate the drug in certain instances.

To read the complete report (this is just a brief summary), please use this link to the Roswell Park article