Photodynamic technology combines a substance (photosensitizer) with exposure to light. The photosensitizer is in general taken up to a larger extent by malignant cells as compared to healthy cells. As a result, the malignant cells become more light-sensitive than the healthy surrounding tissue. Photosensitizers that are administered systemically are in general less selective, and a common side effect is prolonged skin sensitivity to light. Depending on the photosensitizer and light source, photodynamic technology can be used for:
- Diagnosis: malignant cells fluoresce, i.e. light up, and are therefore easy to detect and distinguish from healthy cells
- Therapy: malignant cells are eliminated upon exposure to light with a suitable wavelength
Detection of cancer cells by application of photodynamic technology.