Simphotek is a biotechnology company introducing innovative medical devices for light-based cancer treatments. While reducing many of the adverse effects of traditional therapies resulting in significant improvement of the quality of life of the patients, this light therapy is very sensitive to the treatment parameters and requires accurate modeling and monitoring. In partnership with Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Hospital of the University Of Pennsylvania, Simphotek is developing novel devices for treatment planning, treatment delivery and monitoring the light therapy that will properly dose and adjust the treatment to achieve the maximum effect.
In a nutshell, during this therapy, the light interacts with a photo-active drug and oxygen to generate highly reactive oxygen species (ROS) that locally kill cancer cells in solid tumors. This procedure is called Photodynamic therapy (PDT).
Types of PDT
There are three types of PDT:
External beam, where laser light is directly incident on the tumor. This is the simplest type and is FDA approved for esophageal and endobronchial cancers;
Interstitial PDT, where the cancer is internal or hard to reach and optical fiber(s) are used to direct the light to the tumor (e.g. Head and Neck – RPCC);
Intracavitory PDT, where the tumor exists in a cavity (e.g. mesothelioma/lung-Penn).
Unfortunately, Types (2) and (3) are not FDA approved in the US. As a result, Simphotek and its collaborators are working to advance these main types of treatment and provide enhanced life survival for many cancer patients.
Not always feasible
Remaining cancer cells
Toxicity and side effects
Damage to healthy tissue
Lifetime limit to exposure
PDT is more localized/targeted and does not cause systemic toxicities.
PDT does not cause cumulative damage in local tissue.
PDT avoids disfiguring, bleeding, losing speech, dry mouth, allows swallowing, unaided breathing.
PDT can be repeated as many times as needed.
Impressive results in recent clinical studies to treat NSCLC (Meso) and Locally Advanced Head and Neck cancers.
Simphotek product pipeline
Challenges of PDT
One of the major obstacles preventing widespread use of PDT is the lack of a PDT dosimetry – a quantity that correlates with PDT efficacy. To turn PDT into a repeatable and reliable treatment, a physician/oncologist needs to deliver the right dose based on the patient's specific parameters. Reproducibility of PDT's recent impressive results is critical and Simphotek, together with its academic partners, is developing hardware and software tools to find an optimal dose and to deliver the prescribed dose.
An essential treatment planning medical device to enable predictable and repeatable PDT in treating advanced cancers.
A complete dosimetry solution for intracavitary PDT.
Complete dosimetry and delivery solution for interstitial PDT (I-PDT).