Integrating spheres for improved skin photodynamic therapy
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The prescribed radiant exposures for photodynamic therapy (PDT) of superficial skin cancers are chosen empirically to maximize the success of the treatment while minimizing adverse reactions for the majority of patients. They do not take into account the wide range of tissue optical properties for human skin, contributing to relatively low treatment success rates. Additionally, treatment times can be unnecessarily long for large treatment areas if the laser power is not sufficient. Both of these concerns can be addressed by the incorporation of an integrating sphere into the irradiation apparatus. The light fluence rate can be increased by as much as 100%, depending on the tissue optical properties. This improvement can be determined in advance of treatment by measuring the reflectance from the tissue through a side port on the integrating sphere, allowing for patient-specific treatment times. The sphere is also effective at improving beam flatness, and reducing the penumbra, creating a more uniform light field. The side port reflectance measurements are also related to the tissue transport albedo, enabling an approximation of the penetration depth, which is useful for real-time light dosimetry.
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