Last fall, I wrote about a new cancer treatment in Ireland called Cytoluminescent Therapy (CLT). This is a form of photodynamic therapy (PDT), in which a chlorophyll-based photosensitizer is administered to patients, followed by whole-body light treatment.
I was excited by the preliminary results of this treatment and took several trips to Ireland to investigate further. I also presented educational seminars for patients who received the treatment in four sessions between November, 2002 and January, 2003.
Nearly six weeks have elapsed since the completion of those sessions and I have now turned my attention to assisting in an independent retrospective review of these patients' cases. I am in the process of assembling a team of professionals to carry out this necessary initial evaluation.
The anecdotal reports I have received so far paint a far more complex picture than was indicated by the initial data I reviewed. Some patients feel the treatment is responsible for tumor shrinkages and improved quality of life, while others report distressing symptoms, such as flu-like fatigue, persistent coughs, and inflammation or necrosis around known or suspected sites of tumor.
This has sometimes been accompanied by significant pain. The extent of these reports surprised me, since none of the past patients I interviewed in September described anything but tolerable side effects. I had some early intimations of this problem late in the fall, but only became fully cognizant of the extent of the problem after I send a circular letter to patients in February.
I hope that a careful analysis of the patients' outcomes will explain the clinical significance of these effects.
Proponents of CLT feel that these "after effects" result from the destruction of cancer or the toxic buildup of dead cancer cells in a patient after treatment, particularly in those patients who had a large "tumor load" or widespread or advanced disease.
If this interpretation is correct, it would suggest the need for debulking of large tumors prior to treatment as well as a closely monitored detoxification treatment program afterwards.
The treatment is no longer given in Ireland. However, it is presently available at the Hufeland Klinik in Bad Mergentheim, Germany. Wolfgang Woeppel, MD, director of that clinic, intends to give CLT in a modulated way, with an emphasis on detoxification and good follow-up care. I am pleased to know this, since Dr. Woeppel has an excellent reputation, inside and outside Germany.
I still believe that photodynamic therapy in general, and CLT in particular, hold great promise as a cancer treatment. But prospective CLT patients must understand that the treatment is new and experimental and that, by definition, an experimental treatment's potential risks and benefits are less predictable and understood than those of more established therapies.
Patients must make all treatment decisions, before and after CLT, carefully, with the input of trusted doctors.
If you have questions about the suitability of this treatment for your own situation, you may want to contact Dr. Woeppel directly.
His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org I remain in close touch with many of the CLT patients.
However, we are not a clearinghouse for information on this treatment. The email address of the CLT organization is email@example.com
Ralph Moss report, March 7, 2003
J Integr Cancer Ther, 12/03
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