1. The drug-light combination lends itself to two layers of selectivity
2. PDT and chemotherapy have proven to be an effective combination treatment
3. The synthetic nature of photosensitizers allow for rationally-designed molecular targeting
4. The optical properties of photosensitizers make them a valuable theranostic too
This project is funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institututes of Health, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service
Existing treatments for cancer suffer from major shortfalls including resistance to treatment and post-treatment disease recurrence. This, combined with the need for specific and targeted therapies, highlight the need for new mechanistically rationalized combination therapies that could synergistically enhance treatment response and improve patient outcomes. Several distinctive features of PDT make it an attractive therapy for a range of cancers and other diseases, especially when viewed as a component of a larger treatment regimen
Why Combination Therapy for Cancer?
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is an innovative treatment that utilizes light of a specific wavelength to activate a complementary photosensitive molecule. These activated molecules then confer therapeutic effects at the target treatment site. PDT is an FDA approved first-line therapy for age-related macular degeneration, and has proven to be safe and effective in thousands of patients. In addition, PDT is used to treat many types of cancer, including esophageal cancer and small-cell lung cancer, and can be used to treat other conditions such as severe acne. As a result, PDT has gained approval from scientists and clinicians in the United States and worldwide. PDT continues to be developed to treat pancreatic, ovarian, and prostate cancers, and much scientific and clinical progress is being made on those fronts. Above is a simple cartoon that provides a basic outline of photodynamic therapy and its components.
What is Photodynamic Therapy?
The overall goal of this project is to develop a combination treatment strategy involving photodynamic therapy (PDT) and existing treatments for three different types of cancers: pancreatic cancer (PanCa), biliary tract cancer (BTC), and non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC)
The Program Project Grant (PPG)
This Program is directed by Professor Tayyaba Hasan, Ph.D. of the Wellman Center for photomedicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Department of Dermatology of Harvard Medical School, in Boston, Massachusetts.