Photodynamic Therapy in Honduras

At the end of April 2017, PhD student Ethan LaRochelle and OIM Lab Assistant Kayla Marra traveled to El Rosario, a rural village in the Yoro department of Honduras to take part in a cancer screening project organized by the Norris Cotton Cancer Center in partnership with ACTS Honduras.

Over 300 men ranging in ages 18-96 travelled from 38 surrounding villages to receive cancer screening and education.

In this study, researchers performed daylight photodynamic therapy (PDT) – a technique that the OIM group has researched pre-clinically in the lab – on any pre-cancerous or cancerous skin lesions identified.

Thayer’s researchers took spectral measurements of the sun and determined that it was feasible to deliver an adequate light dose.

The dermatological team, headed by OIM collaborator M. Shane Chapman, MD, Dermatology Section Chief at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (shown at right), was pleasantly surprised to find there was a 0% prevalence rate of skin cancer or pre-cancer in the men that were screened.

The next step in this study is to recruit patients at La Liga Contra el Cancer in San Pedro Sula (an urban area that receives a broad patient population) by coordinating with Honduran dermatologists and oncologists.

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