Photodynamic therapy

Research output: Chapters, Conference Papers, Creative and Literary Works (RGC: 12, 32, 41, 45)12_Chapter in an edited book (Author)peer-review

5 Scopus Citations
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  • Wing-Ping Fong
  • Hing-Yuen Yeung
  • Pui-Chi Lo
  • Dennis K. P. Ng


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Photonics for Biomedical Engineering
EditorsAaron Ho-Pui Ho, Donghyun Kim, Michael G. Somekh
PublisherSpringer Science+Business Media
ISBN (Electronic)9789400750524
ISBN (Print)9789400750517
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a clinically established treatment modality for a range of cancers. It utilizes the combined action of photosensitizer, light, and molecular oxygen to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS), particularly singlet oxygen, to eradicate malignant cells and tissues. The therapeutic outcome depends largely on the performance of the photosensitizer. For cancer treatment, only a few PDT drugs, including porfimer sodium, temoporfin, and aminolevulinic acid, have been clinically approved. Unfortunately, they still suffer from a number of drawbacks. As a result, development of new generations of photosensitizers that are more efficient and tumor selective, have a wider scope of action, and produce less side effect is under intensive investigation. In addition, various approaches have been actively explored to enhance the tumor-targeting property of photosensitizers. It is commonly believed that PDT exerts its antitumor effects through three different biological mechanisms. Firstly, the ROS generated through the photosensitization process can trigger apoptotic or necrotic response, leading to direct tumor cell death. Secondly, the photodynamic action can target the blood vessels so as to block the nutrient and oxygen supplies to the rapidly proliferating tumor cells. Finally, PDT can also enhance antitumor immunity which is important not only in killing the tumor cells but also in preventing recurrence. The treatment efficacy of PDT can further be improved in combination therapy where it is used together with drugs that are cytotoxic, anti-angiogenic, or immunogenic. This chapter aims to give an overview of the principle and development of this innovative approach for cancer treatment.

Research Area(s)

  • Anti-angiogenesis, Antitumor immunity, Antitumor vaccine, Cell death, Combination therapy, Nanoparticle, Photodynamic therapy, Photosensitizer, Reactive oxygen species, Tumor targeting

Citation Format(s)

Photodynamic therapy. / Fong, Wing-Ping; Yeung, Hing-Yuen; Lo, Pui-Chi; Ng, Dennis K. P.

Handbook of Photonics for Biomedical Engineering. ed. / Aaron Ho-Pui Ho; Donghyun Kim; Michael G. Somekh. Springer Science+Business Media, 2017. p. 657-681.

Research output: Chapters, Conference Papers, Creative and Literary Works (RGC: 12, 32, 41, 45)12_Chapter in an edited book (Author)peer-review