CEA-Leti today announced the launch of the TARGET-PDT project designed to increase the effectiveness of photodynamic therapy (PDT) for treating cancer by developing a novel nano carrier-based approach.
PDT is a minimally invasive treatment that destroys cancer cells with a combination of a photoactive drug known as a photosensitizer and a specific wavelength of light. When the photosensitizers are activated by the laser light, they produce a form of oxygen that destroys illuminated cancer cells.
Focusing on using PDT against bone cancer and head-and-neck squamous cell carcinoma, which is a tumor e.g. of the oral cavity, the project will study the delivery and targeting of photosensitizers encapsulated into lipid nano-particles. For both cancer forms, current treatment regimes often result in low cure rates and show serious side effects or a poor functional outcome. The nano-carriers offer a high payload that will include antibodies targeting specific tumor biomarkers.
PDT has already shown significant potential for improving cancer treatment because it offers strictly focused application, biocompatibility with other forms of treatment, the option for repeated use, excellent cosmetic or functional outcomes and fast recovery. Indeed, typically there is a modest enhanced accumulation of the photosensitizer in tumor tissues and an additional selectivity is mainly provided by the confined illumination of the target area.