The challenge to expand the use of photodynamic therapy

During the  recent workshop organized by the Center for Optics and Photonics, along with the faculties of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Concepción, a roundtable was established with Brazilian researchers, led by the renowned Dr. Vanderlei Bagnato, who left one of their equipments at UdeC to continue carrying out treatments with photodynamic therapy.

The experience in photodynamic therapy (PDT) applications of the specialists from the Optics and Photonics Research Center (CePOF) of the University of São Paulo, led by Dr. Vanderlei Bagnato, has broght them international recognition. It is with this procedure where they have reported amazing results in cancer patients. These results were presented during the workshop “Modern optical techniques and health applications.”

Although PTD is known in Chile, its evolution in the treatment of cancer is little known in our country. With regard to the possible application of this therapy in public health, Dr. Martín Zilic indicated that it is completely feasible, and that if applied it “would benefit above all women, since current research would convert this therapy into an effective method to treat cervical cancer.”

Within the framework of the work carried out in conjunction with the Brazilian team, Dr. Rolando Hernandez, Director of technological development at the Center for Optics and Photonics (CEFOP), pointed out that it is not about “duplicating” what CePOF researchers have achieved, but rather the joint development of new stages, from experimentation to the generation of new tools.

In Brazil there are about 100 cancer centers, which cater to the population free of charge, that use this therapy. Dr. Vanderlei Bagnato stated that “the idea is to create treatments that any nation can adopt as photodynamic therapy does not require the construction of large buildings, since it is a process that is applied in medical centers, hospitals, and consultations on an outpatient basis.”

According to Dr. Bagnato, the objective is that the use of PDT becomes widely adopted, solving the problems faced by patients who need prompt medical attention.  Thus carcinomas could be addressed in the initial phase and those affected would not have to be submitted to a long wait, as in the regular procedure. “Photodynamic therapy reduces costs for governments,” explained Dr. Bagnato.

Thus, this work of high social impact, of which CEFOP is already a partner, will continue to deepen with a trip by UDEC researchers to the offices of  CePOF in Brazil. In this visit, they expect to become familiar with their facilities and to observe the manner in which PDT is implemented at the University of São Paulo.


“This union is absolutely unique, because there is nothing similar in the country and we are really very proud,” stressed Dr. Rolando Hernandez in his words of welcome to the workshop. To arrange this meeting, CEFOP joined forces with the faculties of Dentistry and Medicine. This team will continue to work with the researchers of the Optics and Photonics Research Center (CePOF) of the University of São Paulo in Brazil, pioneers in the use and development of photodynamic therapy and who were the protagonists of this important seminar.

Dr. Alex Bustos, Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry said that, “With this cooperation between CEFOP, Dentistry and Medicine, we can enter a field that currently is not so developed.” The academic pointed out that they have a significant number of patients “who have cancerous and precancerous lesions that can be addressed. We will treat patients with injuries of this type in the mouth, the lips and the orofacial area.” Bustos stressed that this is a great opportunity for the University, and thus it is important to work towards the realization of this innovative initiative.

Therefore, Dr. Raul Gonzalez, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, valued the alliance established with CEFOP because “it will allow us to bring, to get to know and to use applied technology designed to treat illnesses in different areas.”

Review the pictures from the workshop HERE

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