Using Light to Overcome Aggressive Brain Cancer

If you’re diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor such as high-grade glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the prognosis is quite grim.  For GBM, the conventional treatment trio of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy results in a median survival of 15 months, whereas for recurrent or high-grade GBM (WHO grade IV), the median survival is only three months.

Female brain x-ray anatomy
According to a report in the 1 October 2012 Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (JNCCN), however, PDT offers a promising treatment option.  For example, one recent clinical trial found that patients receiving PDT lived more than twice as long on average compared to patients who received only conventional surgery.

“With no clear standard of care for brain tumors, PDT may emerge as a potential alternative, although challenges regarding its clinical use remain and [more] studies confirming its promise are necessary,” the JNCCN report concludes.


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Whelan HT.  High-grade glioma/glioblastoma multiforme: is there a role for photodynamic therapy? J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2012 Oct 1;10 Suppl 2:S31-4.

© 2012,   Photoimmune Discoveries, BV