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Royal visits health centre

PUBLISHED: 11:30 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:40 16 August 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02:  Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (R) visits University College London Hospital on February 2, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/WPA Pool - Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (R) visits University College London Hospital on February 2, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/WPA Pool - Getty Images)

2010 Getty Images

HRH PRINCE Charles met hospital staff and cancer patients taking part in a new ground-breaking treatment. His Royal Highness,

HRH PRINCE Charles met hospital staff and cancer patients taking part in a new ground-breaking treatment.

His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, visited University College Hospital (UCH) in London to speak to those involved in the pioneering cancer treatment, Photodynamic Therapy.

Colin Hopper, from Biggin Hill, is senior maxillofacial surgeon at the hospital and has treated more than 1,200 patients for head and neck cancers and is supportive of the new light-beam technology.

He said: "PDT in this disease can be effective even when patients have failed conventional therapy with chemoradiation.

"We need treatments that can be used in addition to surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, especially when these have failed or would have a major impact on speech and swallowing.

"The key thing for many patients is in avoiding loss of function as a result of treatment, whether it is for the prostate, lungs or pre-cancer in the oesophagus."

UCH is one of a number of hospitals across the UK adopting the method but the KILLING cancer charity is appealing for more research funds to expand trials.

Director Dave Longman is heading the fundraising and awareness campaign, with support from celebrities including Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir David Frost.

David Longman added: "What we now need is funding to pay for more extensive clinical trials.

"PDT for skin and mouth cancers has failed to be adopted routinely in the UK despite its approved status. We desperately want to raise awareness of PDT so that this situation is changed."

PDT is a non-invasive therapy that destroys cancer cells using light beamed onto the tumour, cutting off its oxygen supply by activating a non-toxic PDT drug. The method has few side effects and causes minimal collateral damage to healthy tissue.

NICE has already approved the treatment for treating skin, oesophageal, lung and head and neck cancers, with trials underway for a broader spectrum of cancer.

Recommendations of a two-year study by the Department of Health study are still to be released.

Sir David Frost added: "We owe it to the next generation to invest in the development of PDT. It would be the patients' choice, compared to the current mainstream treatments, and if the early successes can be repeated across other types of cancer, it would be a huge step forward."

To find out more visit killingcancer.co.uk.

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