Presently, there is no effective treatment for patients with recurred head and neck cancer. These patients have poor quality of life with less than 30 percent chance of survival for more than six months.
Photodynamic therapy is a treatment method pioneered at Roswell Park that kills tumor cells without permanently damaging surrounding tissue. The treatment involves the administration of a nontoxic drug that settles in tumor cells, followed by the application of laser light to the tumor, thereby activating the drug and killing the cancer.
Gal Shafirstein, D. Sc., (right) and Nestor Rigual, MD, FACS, (left) are leading a donor-funded study to demonstrate that using a new treatment that involves the use of low drug dose with adequate laser light delivery (photodynamic therapy) can be a safe and effective therapy for patients with head and neck cancer.