Shedding Light on New Cancer Treatments: Photo Dynamic vs. Sono Photo Dynamic Therapy

Innovation is welcomed and necessary in cancer care, so the development of novel approaches like Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT) and Sono Photo Dynamic Therapy (SPDT) has become key. Both of these groundbreaking therapies offer novel approaches for fighting cancer cells without resorting to more invasive traditional approaches. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing both Dr. Michael Karlfeldt (whose focus is on PDT) and Dr. Tony Jimenez (who uses SPDT) as they share insights into many aspects of these and other extraordinary cancer treatments. You’ll find links to these interviews below.

Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT) and Sono Photo Dynamic Therapy (SPDT) represent innovative uses of light and sound waves in cancer care that demonstrate their remarkable versatility and power. PDT uses precision light therapy to activate targeted treatments within the body while SPDT uses both light and sound waves’ penetrating and resonant properties to reach deeper tissues – offering new hope where traditional treatments may fail. Together these therapies demonstrate light’s and sound’s unique contributions as powerful tools in evolving cancer care landscape, each offering specific advantages over their counterparts in traditional cancer treatments.

At its core, Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT) involves using light-sensitive drugs known as photosensitizing agents in combination with light to destroy cancer cells. When introduced into the bloodstream and absorbed by cells throughout the body, these photosensitizing agents activate when exposed to specific wavelengths of light – producing oxygen which kills nearby cancer cells.

Sono Photo Dynamic Therapy (SPDT), on the other hand, takes advantage of sound waves in addition to light. This treatment uses sonosensitizers that, when activated by ultrasonic waves, produce toxic oxygen species which specifically attack and eliminate cancerous cells.

The Treatment Experience

Patients undergoing PDT will experience two main steps during treatment with PDT: initially, they will receive a photosensitizing agent in pill form, intravenous injection or topical application onto the skin. After absorption into their targeted treatment area, this drug will then be exposed to specific light sources; the duration and location of exposure will depend on which cancer it’s treating.

SPDT treatment typically follows a similar format, with its main distinction being its non-invasive nature resulting in minimal discomfort for patients compared to traditional therapies.

Pros and Cons

Both therapies offer significant advantages over chemotherapy or radiation treatments, including targeted therapy that spares healthy tissue while producing minimal side effects compared to traditional methods. They do, however, each have certain limitations that must be considered: PDT tends to work better for surface or near-surface cancers due to light’s penetration depth while SPDT can vary in its efficacy depending on which sonosensitizer type was chosen and its location in relation to where cancer lies.

Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT)


  • PDT can selectively target cancerous cells while sparing surrounding healthy tissues from damage, thus minimizing risks to non-cancerous cells and decreasing potential side effects.
  • Minimally Invasive: PDT offers a non-surgical alternative to traditional cancer treatments that is less invasive, providing relief to patients who do not qualify for surgery. This makes PDT especially suitable for use when other options have failed.
  • Low Side Effects of PDT: PDT typically produces localized and mild side effects, usually limited to light sensitivity in the treated area – thus lessening strain on patient bodies overall.
  • Repeatable: PDT can be administered multiple times to the same site if necessary, making it a versatile solution for treating certain recurrent cancers.


  • Limited Penetration Depth: PDT can sometimes only penetrate to certain depths, making it less suitable for treating deep-seated tumors or large masses.
  • After treatments with PDT, it is wise to limit exposure to bright lights for an extended period afterward as photosensitizing agents can make skin and eyes very sensitive to light.

Access and Availability:

  • PDT may not be widely available across treatment centers and may require expensive equipment for proper functioning.

Sono Photo Dynamic Therapy (SPDT):


  • Deep Tissue Reach: SPDT uses sound waves that penetrate deeper than light can, potentially treating tumors that may not be accessible using PDT alone.
  • Safety: Like PDT, SPDT is noninvasive and often produces mild side effects – making it safer than most other traditional therapies.
  • Combination Therapy: SPDT can easily be combined with other cancer treatments to offer a multidimensional approach to cancer care. And its broad application makes SPDT suitable for treating an array of tumor types and locations.


  • SPDT is still at an early research and development stage compared to PDT; although promising, its prevalence might not yet have gained as wide support within medical communities.
  • Complexity of Treatment: SPDT’s effectiveness may depend on numerous variables, including the frequency and intensity of sound waves emitted during treatment sessions, making the administration and optimization more challenging than anticipated.
  • Equipment Access: As with PDT, SPDT requires specialized equipment which may not always be readily available across healthcare settings.
  • Comparative Analysis, Mode of Action: PDT relies on light to activate photosensitizing agents while SPDT utilizes sound waves – this difference has significant ramifications on their applicability, effectiveness and treatment methodologies.
  • Depth of Treatment: SPDT typically allows deeper tissue penetration, making it ideal for treating tumors which PDT cannot reach.

Side Effects

  • Both therapies boast lower side effect profiles compared to traditional treatments; however, their nature of these side effects differ; for instance, PDT’s photosensitivity could potentially manifest while SPDT may cause lesser-documented adverse events due to its more recent introduction into mainstream practice.

Accessibility and Cost

  • Both treatments may have difficulty spreading due to specialized equipment and training requirements, which may limit their accessibility for patients and reduce their cost.

Understanding these pros and cons can assist both patients and healthcare providers in making more informed decisions regarding cancer treatment options, particularly innovative therapies such as PDT or SPDT.

Future Perspective

Both PDT and SPDT therapies hold great promise, with ongoing research to increase their efficacy, expand their applicability and make them more readily accessible to patients worldwide. With time, PDT/ SPDT treatments are poised to play an increasingly vital role in cancer treatments worldwide.

These innovative, non-invasive treatments represent the forefront of non-invasive cancer therapies, offering hope and new life to many cancer patients. With ongoing innovations and expertise from experts like Dr. Karlfeldt and Dr. Tony Jimenez, we are witnessing a crucial shift in how cancer is treated; with continued exploration and refinement of these therapies becoming a reality – perhaps soon the dream of a world in which treatment becomes less daunting is slowly coming closer to reality.

Dr. Karlfeldt shares his views on PDT and other valuable therapies:


Dr. Tony Jimenez from the Hope4Cancer treatment centers in Mexico shares his insights into SPDT and other innovative therapies:



Kwiatkowski S, Knap B, Przystupski D, Saczko J, Kędzierska E, Knap-Czop K, Kotlińska J, Michel O, Kotowski K, Kulbacka J. Photodynamic therapy – mechanisms, photosensitizers and combinations. Biomed Pharmacother. 2018 Oct;106:1098-1107. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2018.07.049. Epub 2018 Jul 17. PMID: 30119176.

Agostinis P, Berg K, Cengel KA, Foster TH, Girotti AW, Gollnick SO, Hahn SM, Hamblin MR, Juzeniene A, Kessel D, Korbelik M, Moan J, Mroz P, Nowis D, Piette J, Wilson BC, Golab J. Photodynamic therapy of cancer: an update. CA Cancer J Clin. 2011 Jul-Aug;61(4):250-81. doi: 10.3322/caac.20114. Epub 2011 May 26. PMID: 21617154; PMCID: PMC3209659.

Liao S, Cai M, Zhu R, Fu T, Du Y, Kong J, Zhang Y, Qu C, Dong X, Ni J, Yin X. Antitumor Effect of Photodynamic Therapy/Sonodynamic Therapy/Sono-Photodynamic Therapy of Chlorin e6 and Other Applications. Mol Pharm. 2023 Feb 6;20(2):875-885. doi: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.2c00824. Epub 2023 Jan 23. PMID: 36689197.

Zheng Y, Ye J, Li Z, Chen H, Gao Y. Recent progress in sono-photodynamic cancer therapy: From developed new sensitizers to nanotechnology-based efficacy-enhancing strategies. Acta Pharm Sin B. 2021 Aug;11(8):2197-2219. doi: 10.1016/j.apsb.2020.12.016. Epub 2020 Dec 21. PMID: 34522584; PMCID: PMC8424231.

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