RIT researchers turning to photodynamic therapy to beat cancer


HENRIETTA, N.Y. (WROC) — Researchers at Rochester Institute of Technology are looking into ways to beat cancer with light therapy after a Mexican study showed promise to eliminate human papillomavirus or HPV.

All of this centers around photodynamic therapy. It has been a tool in the medical field for years, but it’s now picking up steam in several clinical trials because the technique specifically targets infected cells while, keeping healthy ones.

That’s what Mexican scientists did with 29 patients who had HPV earlier this year. The treatment uses a drug called photosensitizer.

It is injected into a patient or is topically applied. When exposed to a specific wavelength of light, they produce a form of oxygen that kills nearby cells.

The difference now is that the technology around it has gotten better. It has now prompted researchers at RIT to develop the technique further.

“We started a collaboration with people in chemistry here to look at photosensitizing agents he developed and try to look at breast cancer,” RIT Associate Professor of Biology Maureen Ferran said.

“Because of my interest in HPV and moving that therapy also into the neck and head cancers, which majority are caused by HPV infections.”

Even though the study done in Mexico is preliminary, researchers are optimistic and said the idea will spark more interest and expand on creating a more effective treatment.

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