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Treatment of diseases with photodynamic therapy is a two-stage process. The first stage is the local application or the intravenous injection of the photosensitizer and after a number of hours the pathologic tissue to be treated is exposed to non-thermal light of the specific wavelength needed to activate the drug. The delay between administration of the sensitizer and its activation is designed to allow the drug to accumulate selectively in the tumor tissue.

The second stage is the delivery of light to the tumor. The photosensitizing drug retained in the tumor cells is activated by the light and the energy absorbed by the drug is then transferred by a natural conversion, to oxygen within the tissues. This produces a highly reactive form of the oxygen, termed singlet oxygen, which causes lethal destruction within the pathologic cells.

This type of treatment offers some significant advantages, including:

- Minimal side effects relative to conventional treatment
- Minimally invasive therapy
- An increased potential for disease site access, due to the use of lasers, and the flexibility and small size of fiber optics
- Treatment on an outpatient basis

Compared with surgery or radiotherapy, PDT is a relatively benign procedure, which produces good results from a functional standpoint. It is generally well tolerated and can be repeated, so does it not limit future treatment options.



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