PDT is a recognized cancer therapy that uses a drug, called a photosensitizer, that is taken prior to the treatment with light. The photosensitizer accumulates within growing cancer cells. When photosensitizers are exposed to light of a specific wavelength, they produce a form of reactive oxygen that can destroy the targeted cancer cells.
The standard PDT approach works successfully for skin cancers, but for hard to reach tumors, PDT currently requires surgery, endoscopy or the insertion (laparoscopy) of multiple optical probes to deliver sufficient light energy for therapeutically-effective doses. The Illumacell breakthrough technology has the potential to deliver light far deeper into body tissues without the need for surgery or other invasive approaches.
Proof-of-concept studies have demonstrated light penetration of up to 4 cm in simulated breast tissue and up to 7 cm in muscle. This advance opens the possibility of treating a wide range of cancers. Illumacell light devices have been shown to inhibit growth and even eliminate cancer in mice.
Standard cancer treatment protocols, especially chemotherapy and radiation therapy, all have well-known limitations in both safety and efficacy. PDT offers an exciting alternative with minimal side effects and a track record of successful treatment of several tumor types.
Multiple technologies are incorporated in the Illumacell light device to deliver a large number of photons to deep-seated tumors without damaging skin. While the device can be adjusted to various light wavelengths for use with other photosensitizers, Illumacell has been promoting the use of a now generic drug, 5-ALA, which is relatively inexpensive and has a history of safety.
Illumacell is providing improved cancer treatments and hope to cancer patients. The company is currently seeking regulatory approvals and financing that will advance this mission.