Photodynamic Treatment Makes Cancer Cells Commit Suicide

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Photodynamic treatment for cancer

Matthew Gdovin, an associate professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Texas at San Antonio and a team of other researchers have developed a new way to kill cancer cells. This new method will help patients with tumors located on hard to reach areas of the body or with cancer that has been deemed inoperable due to failure with other methods of reduction.

This could mean big things for breast tumors and tumors that affect children. According to the abstract for this particular process, “triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) accounts for 15-25% of these mortalities. Treatment options for TNBC are limited to surgery, radiation, and a select few chemotherapies, to which the cancer often becomes resistant.” Since cancer cells tend to have a more “basic pH” than non-cancerous cells, researchers created this therapy to manipulate the pH, making the cells easier to kill.

The initial step is to inject a chemical compound, nitrobenzaldehyde, into a cancerous tumor and allowing it to diffuse into the infected tissue. Once this chemical composition injected, a beam of light is aimed at the cell and they essentially “commit suicide.” The beam of light causes the cells to become so acidic that they can no longer survive. This process altogether is called “Photodynamic acidification therapy.”

Gdovin and his researching team hope to have the Photodynamic treatment ready for phase 1 of clinical trials by next year.

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