PDT is a cancer treatment option requiring the interaction of three key elements: photosensitizer (PS), light and molecular oxygen, to achieve destruction of tumor tissue. PS that is exposed to light of appropriate wavelength, undergoes activation and energy transfer to produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) that initiate immediate cell kill.

PDT has the additional benefits of damaging tumor vasculature and stimulating specific immunological responses in the long term. It is relatively non-invasive and associated with minimal cumulative toxicity compared to radiation and chemotherapy. Treatment may be performed in a doctor's office or clinic and can be repeated without concern for the development of resistance. Selectivity of treatment is due to preferential accumulation of PS in tumor versus normal tissue and the targeted illumination of cancer to localized sites.

Illumacell uses an off-patent drug, 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA), a natural biosynthetic precursor to heme, to generate the photosensitizer, protoporphyrin IX, endogenously. The proprietary Illumacell device delivers light energy externally to the PS in the red part of the visible spectrum, employing a "wall-of-light™" protocol that promotes deep tissue penetration without creating excessive heat. This procedure spares surgical intervention for deep tumors and offers appealing cosmetic results for superficial skin cancers.

Specific anti-tumor immune responses have been a holy grail in oncology and we have evidence that Illumacell PDT protocols encourage the immune system to target previously ignored tumors.

Download the Illumacell PDT illustration.

Photodynamic Therapy illustration
Photodynamic Therapy illustration
Photodynamic Therapy illustration

"The Illumacell photodynamic treatment of mice with a subcutaneous malignant breast cancer resulted in a dramatic reduction in the size or outright elimination of the tumor. On histological analysis a remarkable inflammatory response coincided with the reduction or elimination of the tumor. The data from the pathological analysis indicate that the Illumacell treatment is responsible for the mounting of a remarkable and effective inflammatory response of the animal body that can result in complete elimination of the malignant tumor."

Jacek M. Kwiecien DVM, MSc, PhD.
Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology & Molecular Medicine
Veterinary Research Pathologist & Clinical Veterinarian
McMaster University