“In cancer, if you knock out one pathway, two others are there waiting to take over. With photodynamic therapy [PDT], you are knocking out pathways that cannot be replaced,” declared David Kessel, PhD, Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan. With more than 50 years of continuous research support from the National Institutes of Health to better understand the mechanisms and potential clinical applications of light-activated therapy, Dr. Kessel focuses here on a behind-the-scenes look at the subcellular environment after PDT. Featured topics of discussion include the mitochondrial and lysosomal pathways to cell death; the cell-protective and cell-destructive effects of autophagy; the good, the bad, and the ugly players in this biochemical arena, particularly singlet oxygen (the bad) and hydroxyl radicals (the ugly); and the photokilling benefits associated with targeting lysosomes.
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