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MASTER'S RESEARCH

PROJECT

Shedding Light on Cancer Medicine:

Photodynamic Therapy for Cancer Treatment

Photodynamic Therapy, or PDT, is a light-activated cancer therapy that shows advantages over current cancer treatment methods. But, these therapeutic benefits are not widely known by the general public. Therefore, the goal of this project is to create an animation that educates and visualizes the mechanism of PDT as a treatment option in oncology.  

BACKGROUND

What is Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)?

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) serves as a promising technology for the treatment and diagnosis of various cancers such as non melanoma skin cancer, Barrett’s esophagus, and early-stage lung cancer to name a few. PDT treatment works by administering light in combination with a photosensitizing drug, which together, cause selective damage to cancerous tissue.

 

In comparison to current cancer treatment options like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, PDT presents several advantages; PDT is non-invasive, precisely targets cancerous tissue leading to faster healing with lower chances of scarring, and shows promise of anti-tumour immunity.

THE PROBLEM

Why is PDT not part of the primary standard of care?

 

Despite the promising results and advantages over current cancer treatment methods, the therapeutic benefits of PDT are not widely known by the general public. Another possible barrier to PDT becoming standard treatment in the clinic is the lack of clinical trial participation.

 

As such, there is an opportunity to leverage animation as a tool that can visually communicate the complex inner workings of PDT across various health literacy backgrounds. The end goal is to increase clinical trial participation by promoting awareness of PDT as an existing cancer treatment to prospective clinical trial patients.

COMMITTEE

 

BMC Faculty Supervisor

Derek Ng, BSc, MScBMC, PhD

Assistant Professor,

Biomedical Communications

Department of Biology,

University of Toronto

Content Experts

Lothar Lilge, PhD

Senior Scientist,

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Professor Medical Biophysics,

University of Toronto

AUDIENCE

 

Scientific Community

Scientists, researchers & physicians

General Public

Cancer patients & families

Project Goals

01

EXPLAIN

the complex

mechanism

of PDT

02

ENGAGE

the audience

to better understand

the treatment

03

PERSUADE

prospective patients

to participate

in clinical trials

04

PROMOTE

the advancement

of medical

research

Pre-Production

Research

Proposal

Preliminary research was conducted to understand how animation can be leveraged as a persuasive tool to enhance willingness to participate in clinical trials.

Scientific

Community Survey

After the research step, a survey  was conducted to better understand the current communication gaps that exist in PDT education. This ensured the script would include the most important and relevant information.

Script

Easy-to-understand language was used to write the script with an emphasis on engagement and clarity. The script underwent several iterations before it was finally approved by the MRP committee. 

Storyboard

The storyboard was illustrated using scenes and sequences to accompany the story. I shared the storyboard with my MRP committee and implemented feedback to create the finalized version.

Production

Funding

Thank you International Photodynamic Association (IPA) for providing the funding used to create this project.

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