Encyclopedia of Cancer

2009 Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab

Photodynamic Therapy

  • Barbara Krammer
  • Tobias Kiesslich
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-47648-1_4553


Photodynamic laser therapy; Photodynamic tumor therapy


Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) uses the action of visible, low energetic light on a  photosensitizer to activate its destructive potential in a target tissue. PDT is a selective treatment modality since the photosensitizer shows preferential accumulation in target (e.g., tumor) cells and the light application can be restricted to the target area. By light activation the photosensitizer forms cytotoxic compounds, mainly  reactive oxygen species (ROS), destroying the target. The emission of  fluorescence light is employed in  fluorescence diagnosis for tumor diagnosis. PDT is applied for malignant and several nonmalignant diseases.


Historical Perspective

Photodynamic effects have been known for a long time from substances enhancing the healing effect of sunlight. It lasted until 1904 when the term “photodynamic” was used for light-induced cytotoxic action and fluorescence of a photosensitizer. Modern...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Krammer
    • 1
  • Tobias Kiesslich
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Molecular BiologyUniversity of Salzburg  
  2. 2.University Hospital of Internal Medicine I, Paracelsus Medical University SalzburgSalzburgAustria