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
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.