Photodynamic therapy (PDT) has been used as a cancer therapy for forty years but has not yet advanced to a mainstream cancer treatment. Although PDT has been shown to be an efficient photochemical way to destroy local tumors by a combination of non-toxic dyes and harmless visible light, it is its additional effects in mediating the stimulation of the host immune system that gives PDT a great potential to become more widely used. Although the stimulation of tumor-specific cytotoxic T-cells that can destroy distant tumor deposits after PDT has been reported in some animal models, it remains the exception rather than the rule. This realization has prompted several investigators to test various combination approaches that could potentiate the immune recognition of tumor antigens that have been released after PDT. Some of these combination approaches use immunostimulants including various microbial preparations that activate Toll-like receptors and other receptors for pathogen associated molecular patterns. Other approaches use cytokines and growth factors whether directly administered or genetically encoded. A promising approach targets regulatory T-cells. We believe that by understanding the methods employed by tumors to evade immune response and neutralizing them, more precise ways of potentiating PDT-induced immunity can be devised.
Michael R. Hamblin, "Strategies to potentiate immune response after photodynamic therapy (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10065, Biophotonics and Immune Responses XII, 1006503 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 30, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2255860.5379284535001.
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