Professor Ifor Samuel, a physicist from St Andrews University, along with Dr. James Ferguson, head of photobiology at Ninewells Hospital, have teamed up to develop a new way to treat skin cancer.
A new light-emitting ‘sticking plaster’, which will revolutionise the treatment of skin cancer, has been developed by researchers at the University of St Andrews and Ninewells Hospital, Dundee.
The new device, which builds on established photodynamic therapy treatment (PDT) methods, not only reduces pain but has the potential to be used by patients in their own home.
The breakthrough, a portable lightweight light source powered by a pocket-sized battery, is the brainchild of St Andrews’ physicist Professor Ifor Samuel, and dermatology consultant Professor James Ferguson, head of the photobiology unit at Ninewells Hospital Dundee.
The pair teamed up four years ago to combine their expertise in photo-physics and photodynamic therapy to create a new way of treating skin cancer. The result is a ‘light bandage’ which contains its own light source and is so portable that patients can go about their daily business while under treatment.
Professor Samuel said: “By adapting the latest technology to an existing treatment method, we have developed a compact light source for treating common skin cancers. It can be worn by the patient in a similar way to a sticking plaster, while the battery is carried like an iPod.”
The light is generated by an organic light-emitting diode, (OLED) and is a spin-off of Professor Samuel’s work on advanced displays. “It’s very exciting to be have developed a new technology that helps treat skin cancer patients,” he said.
Professor Ferguson said: “This new device will have a major impact on the treatment of skin cancers. The light-emitting patch is a low-cost, portable and convenient method of treatment. Our initial pilot trials have already shown its effectiveness and we find patients requesting this treatment over conventional methods.”
The new approach is much more convenient and comfortable than conventional methods as lower light levels are used (reducing pain), and the patient can move around during treatment.
The press release at the University of St Andrews. . .