Photocure shines a light to fight cancer



PhotoCure CEO Kjetil Hestdal (Photocure)

Light activates drugs at the right place and time

John Erik Stacy 21 Jan 2008

Photocure is based on a bright idea: use light to activate cancer drugs. The principal, called photodynamic therapy, alters a chemical in cancer cells while leaving the same chemical unchanged in surrounding cells. Photodynamic therapy is a two-step process involving the application of a photosensitive drug, followed by controlled exposure to a selective light source, which activates the drug and destroys the diseased cells. Photocure is also employing its photodynamic technology to develop products for the diagnosis of diseases, a process known as photodynamic diagnosis, where the diseased cells are detected by fluorescence.

One company product Metvix® uses photodynamic therapy and was approved by the FDA in 2004. Metvix was developed as a treatment for pre-cancerous skin lesions (actinic keratosis) and skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma) and is marketed by Galderma. Another product, Hexvix®, is currently in clinical trial in the US and is marketed in Europe by GE Healthcare. By introducing tumor fluorescence, Hexvix aids diagnosis of bladder cancer.

Shares in Photocure are traded on Oslo Børs (PHO).

This article was also published in the Norwegian American Weekly. For more information about the Norwegian American Weekly or to subscribe, call us toll free (800) 305-0217 or email

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