Normal cells of the body and cancer cells of mesothelioma react differently to photosensitizing drugs. Photodynamic therapy uses light energy to destroy cancer cells while leaving healthy cells safe. It is an alternative method of treatment that has been shown to be effective in some cases of mesothelioma.
During photodynamic treatment, the patient is administered drugs that are called photosensitizers. These drugs make cells sensitive to light. The cells that have been treated are then exposed to light produced at a specific wavelength, which causes them to produce a toxin that kills nearby cancer cells but leaves regular cells healthy and safe.
Treatment using photodynamic therapy starts when the drug is injected intravenously into the bloodstream and is absorbed by cells in the body over a period of 24 to 72 hours. Cancer cells will absorb this drug quicker than healthy cells, and it will remain in cancer cells longer. When the next phase of treatment begins, the goal is for the drug to be present in cancer cells and either not present or present in low concentrations in healthy cells.
After the drug is given to the patient, the patient is treated with light at a certain wavelength that will react with the drug and will be absorbed by those cells, causing them to produce a form of highly reactive oxygen. This oxygen will enter nearby cancer cells, resulting in their damage and death.
Photodynamic therapy is typically used with other types of treatment, such as surgery and chemotherapy and is most effective in cases involving a single, localized cancer.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure, contact an experienced Bay Area lawyer at Kaiser Gornick LLP to learn more about photodynamic therapy and other alternative treatment options. Schedule an initial consultation and speak with an attorney at our office in San Francisco, California.