Ablative fractional laser pretreatment in dermatology boosts topical drug uptake

In a laser-assisted drug delivery study, an international team of researchers was able to impair skin barrier function via disruption by ablative fractional laser channels, increasing uptake of topically applied photosensitizers. The method significantly increased fluorescence intensities and altered the biodistribution and kinetics of 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) and methyl aminolevulinate (MAL), both of which are porphyrin precursors used for photodynamic therapy (PDT) in dermatology.

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"Using different photosensitizers for laser-assisted intensified PDT may give us opportunities to customize PDT to target specific skin lesions," states Dr. Merete Haedersdal, a consultant in dermatology and clinical professor at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, who is the lead author of the study. She is also a visiting scientist at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston) and Harvard Medical School (Cambridge), where she is working in collaboration with Dr. R. Rox Anderson and his team.

"The research shows that pretreatment with ablative fractional laser (AFXL) considerably enhances the amount of porphyrin fluorescence from ALA and MAL photosensitizers. This study presents new information that ALA and MAL behave differently on AFXL-processed skin. Thus, MAL expresses higher fluorescence than ALA for short-term application, whereas ALA over time overcomes MAL and induces the highest fluorescence intensities obtained," explains J. Stuart Nelson, MD, Ph.D., who is the editor-in-chief of the journal Lasers in Surgery and Medicine (LSM), which published the study.

To read the study, please visit http://www.aslms.org/professional/documents/August2014EditorsChoiceManuscript.pdf.

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