The Role of Fiber Lasers in Photodynamic Therapy
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is one of the treatments currently used to help patients with certain types of cancer, specifically examples of the disease which impact either the lungs or the oesophagus, as well as others.
This process has a number of benefits over other treatment options and takes advantage of fiber laser technology to operate. Here is a look at the way that fiber lasers are being used to provide PDT in many treatment facilities worldwide.
Cancer treatments can be problematic because they require that the cells of the patient’s body are attacked in order to curb tumour growth and even eliminate them completely. In many instances this means that healthy cells and tissue are targeted along with the cancerous growths, which is why patients often suffer severe side effects from the treatment and may even be unable to go through with certain approaches.
PDT is a more targeted option because it relies on drugs which photosynthesise when exposed to predetermined wavelengths of light, emitted in this case by a fiber laser. Because fiber lasers are known for their precision and accuracy, it is possible to apply PDT to specific regions of the body, killing the cancer cells in a given area without affecting the healthy cells around them.
Another advantage of fiber lasers in this context is that the wavelength of the light they produce can be minutely controlled, which in turn determines just how far through the patient’s body it will penetrate. This not only means that it is not just surface regions of a subject which can be treated in this way, but also internal organs; all that is required is for the wavelength to be adjusted accordingly.
The additional role that fiber lasers play in providing PDT in an impactful, effective way is that of reducing the risks associated with being exposed to radiation which are innate to a number of other forms of cancer treatment.
Specifically, the type of radiation which is delivered by PDT is non-ionising, which allows for the therapy to be repeated over longer periods without leaving the patient exposed to the likelihood of other issues arising from its use. Standard radiotherapy can damage a patient’s DNA and exacerbate health issues, while PDT steers clear of this downside.
There are some limitations to this type of cancer treatment, meaning it is not used in cases where tumours have spread to multiple areas of the body, nor in the case that the tumour itself is large because the penetration of the fiber laser light does have a maximum depth in this context. Even so, it is creating a viable alternative for plenty of patients which is to be celebrated.
Further information on fiber lasers
SPI Lasers is at the forefront of the fiber laser market, so can offer expert advice and info on all aspects of this technology. Get in touch to learn more, not only about the medical applications but also its use in everything from welding and cutting to cleaning, drilling and engraving.
Image Credit: Wikimedia
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