Photodynamic Therapy for Oral Cancer

Goal is to precisely kill cancer cells

Morris Animal Foundation-funded researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands are using nanobody-targeted photodynamic therapy to tackle oral squamous cell carcinoma in feline patients. The method utilizes light, along with a tumor-cell targeted, light-sensitive chemical to precisely trigger cancer cell death, the Foundation reports.

Oral squamous cell carcinoma is the most common oral cancer in cats, accounting for roughly 8% to 10% of all cancers diagnosed. The tumors make eating and drinking difficult and are painful. The cancer spreads locally and imbeds deeply into the oral tissue, making complete surgical removal rare. Once diagnosed, the average survival time for feline patients is three months.

While conventional photodynamic therapy uses light and a light-sensitive chemical to treat cancer, nanobody-targeted photodynamic therapy uses tumor-cell targeted antibody fragments coupled to the chemical, offering a more precise treatment, the Morris Animal Foundation reports.