Apply the ointment, light on, light off – that’s how easy it is to cure various forms of non-melanoma skin cancer.
Cells that are incubated with aminolevulinic acid form protoporphyrin IX (PpIX), which appears red on the fluorescence micrograph. Both nerve cells (top row), and skin cancer cells (bottom row) form PpIX. The image on the left of both rows represents an overview, the images in the middle and on the right show enlarged sections of the images on the left. The power plants of the nerve and cancer cells, the mitochondria, are coloured green. The colour pattern of PpIX and the mitochondrial dye are similar. This suggests that PpIX accumulates in the mitochondria. Image: Ben Novak
However, the majority of patients suffer severe pain during the so-termed photodynamic therapy. Why the treatment with ointment and red light can be so painful has now been uncovered by researchers from the RUB.They identified the ion channels involved and signalling molecules secreted by the cancer cells. “The results may provide a starting point for suppressing the pain”, says Dr. Ben Novak of the Department of Animal Physiology.
Dr. Josef König | idw
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