Photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses specially developed dyes to direct deadly light onto cancer cells, and is being researched all over the world as an alternative to chemotherapy. The dye is injected into the bloodstream or applied directly to the skin. PDT is combined with nanoparticles that absorb and re-emit light in order to target the cancer cells with red light, and kill them with an efficient treatment.
These dyes have been developed primarily outside Africa and Tebello Nyokong believes that more research is needed to establish which dyes are most efficient in the harsh African sunlight. “Any amount of the drug on healthy tissue (such as the skin) is affected by even the smallest amount of sunlight, even indoors,” said Tebello Nyokong. Her research on new dyes for photodynamic therapy specifically suited to the African environment is still at an early stage. She hopes, however, to see products available in the market in the years to come.
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