The Centre's work continues to go from strength to strength. It is involved in research, treatment and training in the use of lasers in medicine; its work provides a ‘Ray of Hope’ for everyone involved in the treatment of certain cancers and a number of other significant conditions.
Primary activities include:
- Clinical and scientific research into new and improved uses of lasers in the treatment of cancer and other specific conditions
- Provision of specialist treatment derived from research and development
- Training of medical professionals in the delivery of laser treatments
- Dissemination of information through conferences, scientific papers and publications
A unique partnership agreement with the NHS through North Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals Trust provides the Laser Centre with accommodation and support in the modern surroundings of Goole & District Hospital in return for providing the NHS access to medical laser equipment and expertise to treat health service patients. However, treatment can also be provided at other hospitals by the Centre’s Mobile Unit.
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is rapidly emerging as an effective treatment for certain cancers and other conditions; an increasing number of PDT treatments are being approved by NICE, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
PDT provides a targeted method of treating tumours by combining the use of a photo-sensitive drug with laser light. The use of optical fibres via the mouth to reach the wind pipe, lungs and oesophagus avoids the need for major invasive surgery so that patients can be treated as day cases.
As patients are referred earlier for this type of treatment, 'cure' (5 years+ survival) as compared to palliative treatment is starting to emerge. PDT is being used in more disciplines as appropriate photo-sensitive drugs are developed for use in different parts of the body.
Photo-detection (PD) uses specific laser-light wavelengths to identify pre-cancerous tissue. Research has used this technique to support PDT treatments by ensuring all abnormal tissue is thoroughly treated and any recurrence found quickly and treated accordingly.
Thermal lasers are used to vaporise larger tumours and can be combined with PDT and PD as appropriate to completely eliminate all suspect tissue. Thermal lasers and PDT can also be used inter-operatively in more conventional invasive surgical procedures.