Study examines the use of light in medical therapy

March 30, 2009

Santiago de Compostela, Spain - March 30, 2009 - A study published in a special issue of Photochemistry and Photobiology examines the emerging practice of drug delivery systems which use the application of light to activate medications in the body.

The process uses biocompatible materials that are sensitive to certain physiological variables or external physicochemical stimuli. Changes in external or internal body conditions can be used to achieve control of the delivery. There are drug delivery systems that can respond to small changes in light, temperature, pH or the concentration of specific substances.

Current research on the drug delivery systems is focused on developing systems capable of delivering the adequate dose of drug at the target site, avoiding collateral effects and enhancing the therapeutic efficiency. In the case of cancer, light-sensitive systems are particularly useful for direct treatment of malignant cells and minimizing damage to healthy cells.

External control of drug delivery offers a number of advantages. The process enables an easy and precise control of the medication. Switching the light on and off also triggers or stops the release of medication. This can often be done by the patient.

"Near-infrared (NIR) light is particularly useful as an agent capable of triggering the drug release," says Carmen Alvarez-Lorenzo, co-author of the study. "NIR is innocuous, does not cause significant heating in the area of its application and can be useful in the difficult to access areas of the body."
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This study is published in Photochemistry and Photobiology. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact journalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net.

Carmen Alvarez-Lorenzo is a professor at the University of Santiago de Compostela.

For questions about the study, please contact Jean Cadet, Editor-in-Chief of Photochemistry and Photobiology at jean.cadet@cea.fr.

Photochemistry and Photobiology publishes original research articles and reviews on current topics in photoscience. Topics span from the primary interaction of light with molecules, cells, and tissue to the subsequent biological responses, representing disciplinary and interdisciplinary research in the fields of chemistry, physics, biology, and medicine. Photochemistry and Photobiology is the official journal of the American Society for Photobiology.

Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, medical and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, with strengths in every major academic and professional field and partnerships with many of the world's leading societies. Wiley-Blackwell publishes over 1,400 peer-reviewed journals as well as 1,500+ new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and laboratory protocols. For more information, please visit www.wileyblackwell.com or www.interscience.wiley.com.

Wiley

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