Hyderabad: A new method for treating cancer, using light to destroy cancerous tissue and currently available in China, will be introduced soon in India, the technology developers said on Thursday.
The NextGeneration Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a safe and minimally invasive therapeutic modality to treat early and advanced cancer, which ensures that there is no toxicity and normal tissues are not destroyed.
According to NGPDT Global, one can be treated as an outpatient with little or no side effects and at a much lower cost compared to other existing forms of treatment.
NGPDT Global director Scott Waters told reporters that their strategic partners in India were in the process of getting regulatory approvals for the therapy, and it is likely to be made available in India in six to nine months.
Company representatives including research scientists and physicians are on a visit to India to explain the benefits of this treatment.
Waters said while PDT is not a new technology, they developed a novel and uniquely effective photosensitizer for use with their proprietary "whole body light delivery system" and "Near Infrared Lasers".
Noting commonly-used cancer therapies, especially chemotherapy and radiotherapy are immuno-suppressive and highly toxic to the bone marrow, the developers said that their photosensitizer agent activated by full-body LED light bed and laser light systems, destroys only the cancer cells without any toxicity and also without damaging the normal tissues.
"The patients are given an oral photosensitizing agent. This agent collects selectively in cancer tissue and, when exposed to light, becomes activated, releasing a highly energized, free radical form of oxygen known as singlet oxygen. Singlet oxygen destroys cancer cells from the inside out, while leaving normal tissues largely unaffected," an expert said.
Waters said a patient can be treated in one course spread over eight days, without needing any hospitalisation. A stage four cancer patient will require three courses with two week break between two courses. Even in such cases, the patient needs to stay in hospital for 50 minutes to two hours a day.
He said while average treatment for cancer in the US through existing therapies cost $1.5 million, the NextGeneration PDT will bring down the cost to $100,000.
NGPDT through its partners are working for introducing the new treatment method in 20 countries. Studies are being conducted in Australia, Britain and some other European countries.
It plans to set up treatment centres in countries like India, Malaysia and Australia.