Lung Cancer PDT: Old Treatment, New Results

BUFFALO, N.Y. (KFSN) -- Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women. Treating it has been a huge challenge. But now, a treatment that's been around for decades is being used in a new way, and the results so far have been encouraging.

George Grace is an accomplished artist. In March 2016, he was diagnosed with stage 1 lung cancer but wasn't away from his studio for long thanks to an old therapy being used in a new way.

Grace said, "I had the cancer therapy. The next month I was back, right back to what I was doing."

Grace is part of a clinical trial testing a treatment first used in the70s. It's called photodynamic therapy. Researchers are now seeing if it will help fight the most common form of lung cancer, called non-small cell lung cancer.

"I'm alive today two years later and so far, cancer-free," detailed Grace.

The treatment uses a special chemical that responds to a combination of laser light and oxygen.

"Immediately after the surgery is done, we then do this PDT, photodynamic therapy in the area so if there are any tiny cells you cannot see with the naked eye, this PDT can eliminate those cells, kills those cells," explained Chumy Nwogu, MD, a thoracic surgeon at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York.

Dr. Nwogu is leading the trial and he said PDT could be especially helpful for patients diagnosed at stage two or three.

"There's a really high risk in those patients of having microscopic disease left behind so those are the patients that will really benefit from this," detailed Dr. Nwogu.

Dr. Nwogu is cautiously optimistic. Grace doesn't mince words about his feelings.

"This clinical trial saved my life," said Grace.

PDT is a complementary therapy used with surgery alone or in combination with chemotherapy and radiation. For more information on the clinical trial, click here.

For More Information, Contact:
Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
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