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Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

By Costas Bizekis, M.D.

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is used to treat lung cancer, esophageal cancer, and Barrett's Esophagus.

PDT is a two-part process. First, the photoactive (activated by light) drug Photofrin® is administered to the patient and absorbed for 48 hours. Secondly, a non-thermal laser is used to activate the drug from within cancer cells, effectively destroying them. Since PDT uses a non-thermal laser, no heat is involved and there is no risk of being burned.

At NYU Medical Center, the procedure is performed in the operating room by an experienced team that includes a surgeon, anesthesiologist and nursing staff. The procedure can be performed through either rigid or flexible endoscopy and generally takes less than one hour to be completed. The application of light can take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the tumor being treated.

Post-operative patients are carefully monitored by a multidisciplinary team to ensure their comfort and care and must avoid direct sunlight for 30 days.