Strategies for Enhanced Photodynamic Therapy Effects


  • This invited paper is part of the Symposium-in-Print: Photodynamic Therapy.

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    Photofrin has been systemically used in thousands of patients for more than 20 years and some of the early work includes Dougherty (12) and Tsukagoshi (13).

*Corresponding author email: (Tayyaba Hasan)


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a treatment modality for the selective destruction of cancerous and nonneoplastic pathologies that involves the simultaneous presence of light, oxygen and a light-activatable chemical called a photosensitizer (PS) to achieve a cytotoxic effect. The photophysics and mechanisms of cell killing by PDT have been extensively studied in recent years, and PDT has received regulatory approval for the treatment of a number of diseases worldwide. As the application of this treatment modality expands with regard to both anatomical sites and disease stages, it will be important to develop strategies for enhancing PDT outcomes. This article focuses on two broad approaches for PDT enhancement: (1) mechanism-based combination treatments in which PDT and a second modality can be designed to either increase the susceptibility of tumor cells to PDT or nullify the treatment outcome-mitigating molecular responses triggered by PDT of tumors, and (2) the more recent approaches of PS targeting, either by specific cellular function-sensitive linkages or via conjugation to macromolecules.