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15 March 2010

How sticking plaster could beat scourge of skin cancer

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Skin cancer victims are getting a revolutionary new treatment that will avoid scarring and reduce hospital treatment time

Scientists have created a sticking plaster-type device which can be worn by patients as they move around. The light-emitting Ambulight PDT also aims to make treatment more comfortable and avoids scarring.

In the new treatment, a special cream is applied to the skin and the 2in (5cm) wide device, which comes with a power source about the size of an iPod, is stuck on top.

After three hours the light switches on for around three hours, causing a photochemical reaction which works to kill the cancer, a process known as photodynamic therapy (PDT).

Previously the special light equipment was based in hospitals, meaning that patients would have to spend hours there for treatment. They would wait three hours while the cream took effect and then undergo 20 minutes of intense light therapy.

With the Ambulight, patients only need to spend a short amount of time in hospital while the cream is applied, and can then carry on with their daily routine.


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