Photodynamic therapy uses a light-sensitive drug that is activated inside the body by laser light to kill cells, usually cancer cells. First, you receive a special drug — typically by injection — that is absorbed by cancer cells. One to three days later, your doctor applies a laser light to the targeted areas, which causes cancer cells to be killed by reacting with oxygen. Photodynamic therapy also appears to damage blood vessels in tumors and to activate the immune system to attack cancer cells.
For surface tumors such as skin cancer, your doctor may put a drug on the skin and use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) instead of lasers.
Photodynamic therapy treatments may be repeated. This therapy can be used alone or in combination with other treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Why choose Mayo Clinic for photodynamic therapy
- Expertise and experience. Mayo Clinic doctors were the first to use photodynamic therapy in humans in the late 1950s, pioneering its application in the lung and GI tract. The clinic remains on the forefront in researching and using this therapy.
- Team approach. Mayo Clinic's team approach to treatment means specialists from different areas work together to develop a treatment program for your specific needs.
Why Choose Mayo Clinic
What Sets Mayo Clinic Apart