Can we use light to treat more cancers?

University of Waterloo researcher studies innovative approach to cancer treatment with new funding from Canadian Cancer Society

WATERLOO, Ontario, July 25, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Canadian Cancer Society has granted new funding to a Waterloo scientist to research an innovative fresh approach to cancer treatment.

Photodynamic therapy is a new technology that uses a combination of light and light-sensitive drugs to kill cancer cells. While it is currently used to treat some types of cancer, there are limitations that prevent more widespread use of this therapy, such as the ability of light to reach tumours deep inside the body.

Dr Qing-Bin Lu of the University of Waterloo has been granted nearly $200,000 for an innovative approach aimed to improve this therapy. He will examine the use of a novel light-controlled agent in combination with low doses of a currently used cancer drug called cisplatin. The interaction between these two therapies has only recently been discovered and has not yet been explored in great detail.

By applying this new approach, photodynamic therapy could become a more wide-spread treatment option in clinical practice, especially for those cancers that are currently hard to treat with this therapy.

Dr Lu's use of leading edge techniques to study this new approach to photodynamic therapy was recognized as highly innovative. Dr Lu is one of 15 Ontario scientists to receive new funding for unique and creative research, the Canadian Cancer Society announced today.

"Ontario continues to produce innovative research that ranks among the best in the world. We are proud to support these new projects because they bring a unique perspective in our fight against cancer," says Mary Argent-Katwala, Director, Research, Canadian Cancer Society. "We keenly anticipate the impact that the research will have on the lives of all Canadians."

The Society's Innovation Grants were developed to support innovative and creative problem-solving in cancer research. The goal is to support unconventional concepts, approaches or methodologies to address problems in cancer research.

A total of 28 grants representing a $5.4 million investment across the country were announced today. The Canadian Cancer Society is the largest charitable funder of cancer research in Canada. For more information about the Society's research funding, visit

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.