From the blog

3D Printing and Optical Scanning Can Improve Mesothelioma Treatment

Published: March 22, 2024

New treatments and technologies offer hope for mesothelioma patients. One technology, 3D printing and optical scanning, has the potential to help those suffering with mesothelioma. The technologies refine and enhance what is known as photodynamic therapy, a promising new approach for the management of mesothelioma. Photodynamic therapy is a unique treatment that uses light to destroy cancer cells. It works by activating a photosensitizer with light, leading to the death of cancerous tissue. It is a more targeted and less invasive way to treat mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a hard cancer to treat. It is aggressive and is usually diagnosed late when there are fewer options. It is mainly caused by asbestos, which is a mineral that was used for its heat and fire-resistant properties. Many people were exposed to the mineral unknowingly. When disturbed, microscopic fibers are released into the air where they are then inhaled. Once inhaled, they become lodged in human tissue like the lungs and mesothelium where they cause DNA changes and inflammation, turning regular cells into cancer cells.

Traditional treatments for mesothelioma like surgery and chemotherapy have limited success rates. Photodynamic therapy, when combined with surgery, is a promising treatment. Photodynamic therapy can be hard to administer though because it is crucial to administer the right amount of light to the affected area. This is where 3D printing comes in. Precise models are made to mimic the intricate structures of the body. They print models of the pleural cavity, which is where mesothelioma occurs. This allows researchers to better understand the complexities of mesothelioma and allows treatment plans to be tailored to patients.

First, researchers reconstruct the lung cavity using 3D printing and optical scanning. The models are compared to CT scans to ensure they are accurate. This allows doctors to plan therapy dosages. The 3D models are incredibly precise, which also allows doctors to plan out and calculate the correct dosages for patients. The models not only help enhance treatment planning, they help with education and equipment calibration. This process is a step forward for personalized mesothelioma medicine. 3D printing and optical scanning technologies allow improvements to be made for mesothelioma treatment. Machine learning algorithms could also lead to more enhanced treatment delivery, which could allow minimized side effects.

The addition of 3D printing and optical scanning helps refine photodynamic therapy for mesothelioma. They help with calculating the correct dosages and allowing better treatment planning. This gives hope to patients to have a better quality of life while living with mesothelioma. As research continues, advancements in treating mesothelioma and other hard to treat cancers will greatly improve people’s lives.

Dennis Sourvanos et al., “Three-dimensional printing of the human lung pleural cavity model for PDT malignant mesothelioma” Photodiagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy (April 2024). [Link]
Contact Us
Have you received a diagnosis? *