Tetrapyrroles pp 128-148 | Cite as

Tetrapyrroles in Photodynamic Therapy

  • David I. Vernon
  • Ian Walker
Part of the Molecular Biology Intelligence Unit book series (MBIU)


The destructive photosensitising ability of porphyrins in patients suffering from porphyria has been well documented. Patients with those porphyrias that accumulate high levels of porphyrins in the skin suffer from a range of light-activated skin manifestations, the type and severity of which depends on the nature of the porphyrin that accumulates. In all cases the effect of solar irradiation of the porphyrin in the skin is to damage the tissue surface layers and its underlying structures. In most of the porphyrias this tissue damage can be severe in those areas of skin that are repeatedly exposed to sunlight and this is one of the major manifestations of these diseases. This inherent photosensitising ability of porphyrins can however be turned to good therapeutic use. The treatment of tumours and other lesions by the combined action of porphyrins, light and molecular oxygen has been developed into an effective technique called photodynamic therapy (PDT). The aim of this article is to give a brief overview of the development of tetrapyrroles in clinical photodynamic therapy and to report on those tetrapyrroles currendy in clinical trials. There are several other classes of compounds being developed for PDT but this review will only highlight the tetrapyrrole based photosensitisers.


Photodynamic Therapy Actinic Keratosis Photodynamic Treatment Hematoporphyrin Derivative Haematoporphyrin Derivative 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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