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Better Imaging for Treating Pancreatic Cancer

Written By: Brenda (B.K.) Walker

There's just no easy way to treat cancer, any type of cancer, including pancreatic cancer. However, better imaging processes could certainly enhance the viability of treatment options. A team of researchers at Norris Cotton Cancer Center Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center has made a major break-through in Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) in pancreatic cancer treatment, using 3-D imaging.

According to Science Daily, Physics in Medicine and Biology recently published a paper detailing the outstanding findings researchers encountered in utilizing contracts CT in PDT treatment.

Professor and researcher, Brian W. Pogue said, "This study implies that treatment response can be reliably predicted using contracts CT. This would represent a major breakthrough in PDT for pancreas cancer that allows for easier, faster treatment tailored to an individual."

Medical terminology has a mind-numbing effect on most people, leaving you feeling as though you have no control over what is happening to you or your loved one. Simply put, this new 3-D imaging process assists in determining the effectiveness of PDT in treating cancer. PDT is considered a nontoxic drug treatment for cancer that is much less invasive than most other treatments.

A photosensitizer drug is absorbed by cells; but cells that are not cancerous release it. The cancer cells still have the photosensitizer that was originally absorbed. When a light is activated, it kills the cancer cells with the photosensitized marker. The chemical reaction is not a heat-induced reaction, so the process only kills the cancer cells, leaving connective tissue undamaged.

According to the CDC, approximately 8 million deaths each year are attributed to cancer. estimates that over 46,000 men and women in the United States alone will be dealt the tragic blow of a pancreatic cancer diagnosis. The statistics related to pancreatic cancer are staggering:

  • Women-ranked 9th most common cancer
  • Women & Men-ranked 4th leading cause in cancer related deaths
  • One-year Survival Rate-27%
  • Five-year Survival Rate-approximately 6%
  • Early Detection Survival Rate-24% survival rate for five years if the tumor can be surgically removed


As politicians and lobbyists continue feuding on and off Capitol Hill, funding for research remains at risk. Many groups, such as John Hopkins Medicine continue valuable research into the causation and treatment of cancer, including pancreatic cancer.

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