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Mesothelioma patients are provided with very few options for treatment. The traditional treatments that are available include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and a combination of all three treatments. Researchers around the world are continuing to look for alternative protocols, including state-of-the-art technological breakthroughs. Among those treatment options that are currently being tested is photodynamic therapy, a technique that kills cancerous cells by first photo sensitizing drugs and then activating them with light. A study that was just published in the journal Photodiagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy has revealed that improvements that have been made in both lighting and tracking the drugs has resulted in a marked increase in the success of the therapy in laboratory settings.

Photodynamic therapy has the advantage of being able to be activated in a highly targeted area, and this type of targeted approach is what has yielded the best overall results in the treatment of patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. The most common form of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma, which appears in the area around the lungs and is thought to be caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. Peritoneal mesothelioma occurs less frequently, and is thought to be related to ingesting asbestos fibers. In both cases the cancer does not manifest itself until decades after the exposure takes place, and by the time it begins to show symptoms the cancer is generally advanced.

Commenting on the use of photodynamic therapy, the study’s author, Nacim Betrouni, PhD of the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherché Medicale said, “Surgery offers the best chance of survival for this still incurable disease, however after the most complete tumor resection, microscopic tumor cells press and surgery should be associated with an adjuvant local treatment. PDT appeared as a potential option for an effective intra-operative complement to surgery.” The new tracking and measurement techniques that the study analyzed provide a much better ability to deliver the light and modulate its intensity.

For those faced with a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma, there is both tremendous frustration with existing treatment options and great hope for the future. At Mesothelioma.net, we are dedicated to helping those with this challenging disease to access all of the resources available to them. For more information, call us at 1-800-692-8608.

Author: Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor, and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing the copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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