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Future Oncol. 2006 Feb;2(1):53-71.

The future of photodynamic therapy in oncology.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA.


The medicinal properties of light-based therapies have been appreciated for millennia. Yet, only in this century have we witnessed the birth of photodynamic therapy (PDT), which over the last few decades has emerged to prominence based on its promising results and clinical simplicity. The fundamental and distinguishing characteristics of PDT are based on the interaction of a photosensitizing agent, which, when activated by light, transfers its energy into an oxygen-dependent reaction. Clinically, this photodynamic reaction is cytotoxic and vasculotoxic. While the current age of PDT is based on oncological therapy, the future of PDT will probably show a significant expansion to non-oncological indications. This harks back to much of the original work from a century ago. Therefore, this paper will attempt to predict the future of PDT, based in part on a review of its origin.

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