Photodynamic therapy advances

Article medically reviewed by Dr. Gavin Chan (MBBS, cosmetic doctor, liposuctionist)

Templestowe Lower, Berwick and Beaumaris Clinics

Dr. Gavin Chan has a background in intensive care, anaesthesia, and emergency medicine. Since 2005, Dr. Chan has provided cosmetic procedures, including anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, liposuction and laser treatments. He is a doctor trainer for various dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections. Read More

Photodynamic therapy is relatively new procedure used for the treatment of acne or pre-cancerous and cancerous skin lesions.

It works on the principle that those cells that cause the above problems are metabolically more active and produce large amounts of a substance called porphyrins. These porphyrins are sensitive to certain types of light, and when exposed to light can produce toxic oxygen free radicals which destroy cells in the very nearby vicinity. Because these oxygen free radicals do not actually traverse far, they are very specific to the cells that create the porphyrins, hence it is possible to specifically target the problem cells without damaging normal ones.

To stimulate cells to produce more porphyrins, we often add a substrate called 5-ALA which is a precursor to the porphyrins.

At The Victorian Cosmetic Institute, in conjunction with Rofin Australia have helped with the design of a new LED light source for photodynamic therapy. It will have two wavelengths for different skin penetrations and applications. As seen in the picture, it has 6 heads, all aimed at different parts of the face to ensure even coverage.

For more information on Photodynamic therapy, click here.