Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Next iPod Accessory: A Photodynamic Therapy Plug in Module for Skin Cancer

Medgadget and Wired are reporting on a small non-invasive device by a Scottish spinoff, called Lumicure that aims to treat skin cancer using photodynamic therapy. The basic idea, is band aid coated with special aminolevulinic acid, which is light sensitive as when it interacts with cancer cells. Turn on an attached LED and zap the skin cancer away.

Skin cancer, which typically requires painful or invasive treatments, affects 40 percent of all Americans at some point during their lives. The Lumicure treatment would cost between $200 and $300, compared with roughly $15,000 to $20,000 for the standard therapy. It could also eliminate the need for chemotherapy in some cases.

Lumicure's treatment is a new twist on an existing treatment called photodynamic therapy. It starts with a cream containing aminolevulinic acid, which becomes photosensitive when it comes in contact with a cancer lesion. When exposed to light, the cream interacts with only the cancerous cells, making it a very selective skin treatment.

Lumicure's light source is a low-powered organic light-emitting diode embedded in a small adhesive device. Its battery module -- roughly the size of an MP3 player -- fits easily in a pocket.

The costs savings are huge, they are quoted treatments for around $400 compared to $15,000 in comparable clinical machines. Hey Lumicure, how about a wind-up version for those of us who don't like batteries?

More at Medgadget

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