See below for information on cost of treatment. You will need to communicate with us to get an estimate of cost of treatment as it varies depending on the disease and condition so do email us.
Frequently asked questions about PDT
On its own, it is quite safe, not toxic to the skin or any body organs. Lab tests show that cells can be exposed to levels of our sensitiser 40 times higher than our dosage repeatedly over a period of weeks without doing any harm.
The sensitizer is administered by IV drip for most treatments which takes about half an hour and is no more painful than any other jab.
Second, a very specific colour of light must reach the cells which we intend to attack, specifically bacteria, moulds, viruses and / or cancerous cells.
Third, we must have a sufficient amount of oxygen in the cell to create what is known as ROS, or Reactive Oxygen Species.
ROS are oxygen molecules which have been elevated to a higher level of activity which makes them very reactive to chemicals around them. You can think of ROS as being sort of like Hydrogen Peroxide or Ozone if you wish, but actually ROS are far more deadly than either of them.
When the sensitiser molecules are excited by the laser, they fluoresce and release light of a different wavelength. The molecular activity induced in the sensitiser is what makes the oxygen more reactive and causes the death of the cells that the sensitizer is in.
Does the treatment hurt? When done properly there is no real pain involved. As the process begins the patient will feel a sensation of tingling followed by a feeling of heat. The laser is moved to a new site while the sensation is still tolerable, and the feeling of heat subsides as soon as the laser is moved.
Is the treatment dangerous? The treatment is never as dangerous as the disease which is being treated. In cases of advanced cancer there will be a challenge to the body as it tries to remove the waste products, and this may require support of the liver and kidneys which is supervised by the doctors. If there seems to be a serious challenge to the body it is possible to go slower to allow the body to keep up.
How long does the treatment take? That depends on what is being treated. Autoimmune disorders like MS are treated on a one or two day protocol. Bacteria and viruses take the same amount of time. Cancer usually requires at least a one week protocol with testing and treatment, and if it is advanced it is common to require two or three return trips to complete treatment.
How expensive is the treatment? That depends on the disease and the clinic location. Autoimmune and Bacterial disease should be less expensive to treat, cancer is more expensive due to the chemicals and time involved. One reason for setting up in the Philippines is the reduced cost. We have a policy of not refusing treatment based on ability to pay and keeping costs as low as possible. If payment is a problem, talk to us about making arrangements.
Can financing be arranged? Yes, if it is required please speak to us about your financial situation.
Is there damage to normal cells? No treatment is perfect and it is not possible to make absolutely certain that no healthy tissue is damaged. This applies to all medicine, not just PDT.
The unique nanomolecule formulation which we use minimizes the amount of sensitizer in normal tissue. Nerves are particularly immune to PDT.
How deep can the treatment penetrate? If you read about PDT on the internet it is common to see the statement that it can only penetrate a few millimetres. That is true with the treatment commonly used elsewhere, but the technical advances we have made allow us much deeper penetration. It is basically limited by the amount of time the light is applied.
What types of cancer can be treated? Most cancers which have an adequate amount of oxygen respond reasonably well to PDT. Lung cancer, prostate cancer, some types of breast cancer and colon cancer are just a few types which we know do respond to PDT.
How do you reduce the sensitizer in normal tissue? Cancer makes vessels to feed its self which are “leaky”; they will allow larger molecules to pass than normal vessels will. Making our molecule into a “nano-particle” causes it to go to the cancer much more than into normal cells.
How long does the change in autoimmune disorders last? We can only answer that when we have longer studies, but at present we know that Scleroderma which had existed for 15 years and resisted all conventional treatment went away after three treatments, and has not returned 7 years later. MS patients seem to have improvement in their condition which lasts for years, how many years we can’t yet say but our first patient was treated about 9 years ago and is still okay.
What level of improvement in symptoms can be expected? This depends on how advanced the disease is, and what sort of disease is being treated. If we look at MS for example, we have seen stunning remissions of nearly all symptoms in patients who were using canes, walkers and were about ready for a wheel chair. Most of these patients had recovery which left them very functional with no overt symptoms of MS. Although most of them still feel they have MS, they no longer collapse when exposed to heat or the things they were allergic to before. MS patients with extensive nerve damage may not recover full functionality for months, if ever.
We see reductions in blood glucose levels starting 2 or 3 days after initiating cancer treatment. As an example, a couple of patients were often showing 12 to 15 blood sugar levels, and they both returned to 5.5 to 7 after cancer treatment.
We don’t know how long this lasts, but one patient that we were able to follow up on still has normal blood sugar levels two years after treatment.
Does PDT always suppress the immune system? No, interestingly when other types of disease are being treated, it has the effect of activating the immune system against the disease being treated.
How can PDT suppress the immune system in autoimmune disease and activate it in other diseases? Again, a lot of research has gone into this question and although a fairly comprehensive picture exists, it would be foolish to assume we have all of the answers. What we do know is that it causes the creation of a “vaccine” inside the body. Normally vaccines are created by taking a sample of a cell or a virus and breaking it down with UV light or radiation. PDT does a better job of disassembling the DNA or RNA strands, and thereby creates a very good vaccination “in situ” (in place).
Does this vaccination and immune stimulation guarantee the cancer will be killed and not return? Not on its own, but it is a good start. Cancer can mount a defence against the immune system. The exact methods of this are complicated. The short answer is that it can help to fight the cancer if we add other antibodies or adjuvants to overcome the defences of cancer against immune system attacks. One of the most powerful adjuvants in the world is withaferin, but it is not commonly available. We had to have a custom extract of the leaves from a plant that is normally only used as a root extract, but we have that in place now in sufficient quantity to treat many patients.
How do you know where to use the laser? In the case of tumours located near the surface we can use fluorescence as seen with a special camera to verify the presence and location of cancer, but we always require a thorough scan before we start treatment. MRIs, CT scans and PET scans are all helpful in determining where the target is. Normally we will not treat patients unless they have current scans, preferably on a CD.
Can you arrange scans? Yes, the doctors at the clinic can get scans done in a timely fashion and at minimum cost.
Will blood markers fall immediately? This is not very predictable. The difficulty lies in the fact that blood markers consist of parts of the cancer floating around in the blood. When we kill a large volume of cancer the blood markers often skyrocket for a period of time. We don’t yet know how long it takes for these to stabilize but assume it is around 1 week
Is this curative or palliative treatment? That depends on the type of cancer and how advanced it is. It is fair to say that regardless of the type of cancer the earlier we see a patient the better the chance is of a complete cure. As mentioned earlier some types of cancer are difficult to treat. In most cases the treatment will provide relief from symptoms and an extension of enjoyable life. Several doctors have said that when it is not curative it is certainly the golden standard of palliative care.
Can bone metastases be treated? Yes, interestingly some of our greatest successes are with types of cancer which simply do not respond to chemo or radiation, and bone metastases are one example of this. There are two types of bone metastases, some eat the bone away and others grow lumps in or on the bone. Both types are very painful. Both types respond very will to PDT if we can get enough light to the cancer. Deep tumours in the hip sockets and the large bone in the leg are more difficult. How well they can be treated depends on the body type of the patient. Smaller lighter patients don’t have as much muscle to stop the light so they respond better and faster.
Is there any type of cancer which does not respond at all to PDT? No, I believe all types of cancer do respond to PDT better than to chemo or radiation. With our new chemicals being added to the treatment protocol, we are seeing stunning remissions in just days, in some cases in one day.
Can bone metastases be treated with PDT? Yes, it is very effective for bone metastases. When I was first asked about this I was not sure whether the sensitizer would accumulate in bone mets, but a paper written by another researcher said it was very effective, so we started using PDT for bone mets and we are always able to provide significant relief if not complete remission.
Can the spine and brain be treated safely? Of course the concern in these areas would be nerve integrity. We find that in animal tests sensitizer does not accumulate in healthy nerve cells. We have successfully treated spinal columns and brains with no apparent damage to the nerves.
Are all types of bone mets treatable? We have treated mets from breast, colon, lung and prostate cancer in the spine, skull, brain, lungs, adrenal glands, omentum and bladder with no complication. Deep involvement like the femur and the hip socket will usually require a lot of laser time but we have recently developed a MUCH more powerful light source to shorten treatment time.
Can PDT be used after or during chemo or radiation treatment? Both chemo and radiation do substantial damage to healthy tissue. Chemo patients who have had several courses of treatment will have very fragile veins which make infusion difficult. In spite of these complications PDT can be and has been used successfully after chemo and / or radiation. Most of our patients come to us as a last resort and have already had all of the conventional therapy which has failed and they have been told nothing can be done. In spite of this we have a reasonable degree of success treating these patients.
What is the likelihood of success with treatment? That depends on how we define success. We know that at least 95% of our patients get significant benefit from treatment and a fair number have complete remission. We don’t know exactly what percentage have complete remission, but I would guess it is in the range of 75% Another 25% have partial remission, which is defined as at least 50% of the cancer being destroyed.
How does this effect life span? Again, that is a difficult question to answer until we have a few more years of experience, but it appears that many of the patients who are in partial remission seem to be stable, either the cancer is gradually reducing or at least not growing. We believe we extend the lives of most of our patients and improve their comfort and vitality.
Can PDT be used for lymphatic involvement? We have successfully treated many types of cancer in several lymph node areas. In my opinion it is better to use PDT for early lymphatic metastases than radiation in all cases, better than surgery which will spread the cancer, and should be used as a first course of treatment before chemo.
Will you treat lymphatic involvement which has been diagnosed by sentinel node biopsy? Yes, we can treat it and the chances of success are better than having the lymph nodes removed, plus there is no damage to the lymphatic system. However, after any sort of biopsy there is a higher chance that it has already metastasised to other areas.
Can all areas of the lymphatic system be treated? Yes and no. In theory what works in one area should work in another, and we have equal luck dealing with the relatively superficial lymphatic chains. Mediastinal and deep inguinal nodes are more difficult to reach.
Are there complications with lymphatic treatment? Yes, there can be. If you think of a lymphatic vessel as being like a hose, and then imagine someone has packed it full of clay and left it to dry, you have a reasonable idea of what is going on when cancer has invaded the lymphatic system. We use a custom ultrasound device unlock anything being used elsewhere to help open up the lymphatic system, plus this particlar wavelength of ultrasound kills cancer directly.
Can anything be done to deal with these complications? Yes, there are a variety of self care techniques and intervention which can relieve the symptoms of lymphatic oedema in most cases. In any event, if PDT is not used the situation will only get worse with time. By killing the cancer we make it possible for the immune system to gradually clean up the mess. The trick is in supporting the patient while all this is going on.
Is there any type of lymphatic cancer which can be treated with anything other than PDT? Yes, I usually recommend that patients with lymphoma, regardless of whether it is Hodgkin’s or not, consider chemo either as an alternative even though our treatment is better cheaper and faster. The last information I had was that lymphoma is one of the very few cancers which do respond to chemo about 50% of the time.
Can PDT and Chemo be used simultaneously? Because chemo does so much damage to the immune system it is better to follow one with the other.
England has had a mandatory reporting law on Golden Staph for years, and the numbers coming out of this are terrifying. Over a ten year period it has been multiplying times ten every two years. As of 2008 it was expected to kill more people than cancer. The numbers are the same throughout the world. All you have to do is drive by a hospital for a few days and you will see a youngish person or perhaps 3 or 4 in a wheelchair with a freshly amputated leg. These aren’t dog bites, they are usually from Staph.
Conventional treatment starts with a very rigorous anti-biotic dosage, usually with two or more anti-biotics. Unfortunately these drugs are carcinogenic in some cases, and in most cases they damage the liver and kidneys. Even more unfortunate is the fact that a lot of patients don’t respond, so that is when they start cutting, trying to cut out infected tissue. When that doesn’t work they take the leg, arm, hand... whatever is infected.
What can we do about deadly bacteria? Fortunately, lab testing shows that these bacteria will never develop a resistance to PDT. We have treated many infections of various nasty bacteria, and always get very rapid results.
EXAMPLES: We have treated mouth infections which had failed to respond to months of anti-biotics. We have treated bladder infections of golden staph and pseudomona which had not been controlled by 4 months of the strongest anti-biotics. The doctors told that patient there was nothing they could do. It took 15 minutes to stop it. Cat scratch fever which had been treated for days with double doses of two types of anti-biotics was getting worse until we use PDT, which stopped it in a matter of a few minutes.