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Simphotek accelerates PDT entry into the era of personalized medicine

New Jersey Tech Weekly, Jan 10, 2016 – What happens when you optimize a cancer treatment using software? A possible organ-sparing, life-saving alternative therapy to chemo and radiation becomes viable. That’s what the startup Simphotek is betting on. The company, which has been around for two years, is part of the Enterprise Development Center (EDC) incubator at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), in Newark. It needs money to further develop its software, said Simphotek President Mary Potasek when she pitched at the EDC Summit, held at NJIT in late October.

Cancer treatments can be hard to describe. With this one, called “Photodynamic Therapy,” a drug is injected into the patient. This isn’t a chemo drug, however. It simply activates chemical reactions in cancer cells when combined with the light from a laser. The combination of the laser light and the drug produces reactive ions that kill cancer cells. Potasek notes that this technique is well-known, but the problem is that it’s impossible to determine how much light to use or how long to use it on various tumors.

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