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Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2008 Sep;7(9):1011-7. doi: 10.1039/b806710d. Epub 2008 Jul 21.

Immunotherapy: a way to improve the therapeutic outcome of photodynamic therapy?

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Department of Molecular Microbiology and Serology, National Salmonella Centre, Medical University of Gdansk, ul. Do Studzienki 38, 80-227, Gdansk, Poland.


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a treatment for cancer and non-cancerous lesions involving light and a sensitizing drug, a so-called photosensitizer. Photosensitizers for PDT usually accumulate in tumour tissues with some selectivity. Thus, malignant and abnormal cells can be destroyed by PDT which acts by producing singlet oxygen and possible other reactive oxygen species. However, the efficiency of PDT is often limited by shallow light penetration into tissue. In some cases one treatment modality cannot cure a patient because of treatment limitations and/or side effects. In recent years, many preclinical studies have indicated that the therapeutic outcome of PDT can be improved, doses and side effects lowered by combination with immunotherapy. Most experiments have been done with animals and cell lines. This review summarizes the current knowledge about different immunotherapeutic approaches which can be used to improve effectiveness and extend the applications of PDT in clinics.

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