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Photofrin Available for Esophageal Palliation

Photofrin Available for Esophageal Palliation

WASHINGTON--The FDA has approved QLT PhotoTherapeutics' light-activated drug Photofrin (porfimer sodium) for the palliative treatment of esophageal constriction in patients with advanced esophageal cancer.

Photofrin is given intravenously, then activated by nonthermal light from a medical laser delivered via fiberoptic cables into the esophagus. Once activated, the agent produces free radicals that help destroy cancer cells.

Studies showed that the treatment gave patients a higher quality of life by allowing them to swallow again on their own.

QLT (Vancouver, BC) has entered into an agreement with New York City-based Sanofi Winthrop to market Photofrin, the first form of photodynamic therapy (PDT) to receive FDA approval.

Two Laser Systems

The FDA also granted marketing clearance to two laser systems for use with Photofrin: Coherent, Inc.'s Lambda Plus PDL.1 and PDL.2, and Laserscope's KTP/532 and KTP/YAG. A PDT Dye Module allows the Laserscope machines to be adapted for use in PDT.

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