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Non-Invasive Therapy Studied for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Transdermal photodynamic therapy shows promise in mouse model

MONDAY, Oct. 30 (HealthDay News) -- A mouse study has shown that transdermal photodynamic therapy may be a promising method for minimally invasive synovectomy in rheumatoid arthritis, according to a report in the October issue of Lasers in Surgery and Medicine.

Benjamin Funke, M.D., of University Hospital Heidelberg in Germany, and colleagues evaluated the effect of transdermal synovectomy with a new, near infra-red absorbing photosensitizer, tetrahydroporphyrin-tetratosylat, in an arthritic joint mouse model. Joint swelling, serum amyloid and histology were used to evaluate the results.

Unlike other synovectomy methods, the therapy did not traumatize the skin and joint cartilage, menisci and ligaments, and was well tolerated by the mice. However, the researchers found that the treatment induced necrosis of adjacent skeletal muscle that led to paralysis of the irradiated limb, possibly due to the small knee joints of the mice and a too-broad laser beam.

"This study provides the basis for transdermal accessibility of tissue through a photodynamic process which may serve as a minimally invasive synovectomy strategy," the authors conclude.

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