What is Photothermal Therapy?

All cancer treatments aim at killing the rogue cells without causing any damage to the surrounding rogue cells. While some of the remedies are standard, others are under experimental trials. One such method under laboratory tests is the

photothermal therapy

. This article tries to gain further insight on the pros and cons of this modality of cancer.

What is Photothermal Therapy?

Electromagnetic infra red rays are used here to destroy the rogue cells of tumor. The method is similar to photodynamic therapy where a photosensitive material is excited by making it absorb light energy of certain range. The factor wavelength of light is used to decide the range of energy to be supplied to the material for making it excited.

The latter stage is an unstable one. Like every other system seeking stability, the material also tries to achieve stability by releasing the excess energy acquired by it. This released energy is focused on the chunk of malignant cells for killing them.

The advantage of this therapy is that it does require the presence of oxygen in order to cause the desired effect on the malignant tissues. Infra red rays used in this technique are less powerful than the light energy used in photodynamic therapy. This feature ensures the safety of the healthy cells and tissues surrounding the target tumor.

A major advancement in the field of research is the use of gold nano-particles in the form of nano-rods as the means of absorption of energy. They have been found to be effective in absorbing the light energy made to fall on them even if they are at a distance 10 times their size. These rods can absorb 80 percent of the incident energy and can produce large amount of energy to destroy the surrounding tumor chunk.


Presently the studies on

photothermal therapy

are confined to experimental mice and their extension to humans is awaited. Most of the side effects of this trial therapy are unknown yet.

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