Mechanism of Transpupillary Thermotherapy in CNV
Hyperthermia, or heat, has been used to treat tumors for many years. One way that heat can destroy tumors is to damage the new blood vessels that feed the tumor. Because of this possibility, laser-induced hyperthermia or transpupillary thermotherapy (TTT) has been used to treat the new blood vessels occurring in the choroidal cell layer that lead to legal blindness in patients with age-related macular degeneration. Although human clinical trials have started, the dose of heat given has been based on cancer data. There is very little information on how heat affects the normal eye or an eye with new blood vessels. Dr. Tolentino is studying the effect of TTT on normal eye tissue and eye tissue that has neovascularization in order to establish a dosage level that can be used as a guideline for human therapy. His goal is also to determine the correlation between laser power and temperature and the factors that can alter their relationship, such as pigmentation, subretinal fluid and the wavelength of the laser. In addition, Dr. Tolentino hopes to gain a better understanding of programmed cell death and the production of heat shock proteins in order to have a better understanding of how TTT affects the eye.