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Photodynamic Therapy

The Digestive Disease Center at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital is pleased to offer photodynamic therapy (PDT) as a treatment option for cancer patients.   PDT utilizes the administration of a light-sensitive drug, which is then exposed to a visible light beam, which destroys cancerous cells. This treatment is now Federal Drug Administration approved for palliation of esophageal cancer and for other esophageal cancers which fail to respond to standard treatment such as ND:YAG laser treatment. It is also approved for obstructing bronchogenic carcinoma.

The treatment involves administering a non-toxic photosensitizing drug intravenously, which then is selectively retained by precancerous and cancerous cells rather than normal cells. Under conscious sedation, the lesion is exposed to red light at 630 nm, which then triggers a chemical reaction releasing singlet oxygen and other chemical mediators, which destroy dysplastic and neoplastic tissue. Other than the above two FDA-approved indications, it is now being utilized for high-grade dysplasia in Barrett's esophagus, early esophageal cancer, Barrett's esophagus without dysplasia (in hopes of reversing this precancerous area) non-small cell carcinoma of the lung, intra-peritoneal malignancies, mesothelioma, malignant pleural effusions, colon/ rectal cancer, and other head and neck lesions. Thomas Jefferson University Medical Center is at the forefront of cancer research and treatment and we are pleased to offer this new therapy as an option to more invasive treatments.

If yourself or any of your other colleagues have patients who you feel may be candidates for this treatment and you would like to discuss this with one of the physicians at the Digestive Disease Center involved in photodynamic therapy, please call Dr. Anthony Infantolino or Dr. A.J. DiMarino at (215) 955-8900 or call 1-877-JEFF-PDT (1-877-533-3738).

Dr. Infantolino has prepared a lecture syllabus on photodynamic therapy, which is available on-line for your review.