Scottish company Lumicure has developed a new portable light-activated device to treat skin cancer. If approved by the FDA, it’s a convenient, painless and inexpensive alternative to chemotherapy and standard photodynamic therapy.
Lumicure’s treatment is a new twist on an existing treatment called photodynamic therapy. It starts with a cream containing aminolevulinic acid, which becomes photosensitive when it comes in contact with a cancer lesion. When exposed to light, the cream interacts with only the cancerous cells, making it a very selective skin treatment.
Lumicure’s light source is a low-powered organic light-emitting diode embedded in a small adhesive device. Its battery module — roughly the size of an MP3 player — fits easily in a pocket.
The device is estimated to cost about $200 to $300, compared with roughly $15,000 to $20,000 for the standard therapy. Human trials are ongoing and the company hopes to launch the device in about two years.