Photodynamic Therapy for Benign Dermal Neurofibromas- Phase II

  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Harry T Whelan, MD
Updated on 14 September 2023
tumor growth


The investigators wish to determine the time to disease progression for benign neurofibromas treated with Levulan Kerastick topical photosensitizer and red light photodynamic therapy (PDT) in patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1).

The investigators also wish to measure tumor size for control and treatment tumors in order to gain insights into tumor growth rates.


Neurofibromas contain a large quantity of fibrous matter, and it is not anticipated that significant reductions in tumor size can be achieved in large, long established, tumors. Cutaneous neurofibromas, which do not usually become apparent until puberty, continue to increase in size and number throughout adulthood. The psychosocial burden of these disfiguring tumors is significant, and the targeted age group (14-30) is at a life period associated with an acceleration in tumor growth. It is for these reasons that the investigators hope to affect the growth rate of less established tumors, in order to prevent or lessen this burden as the patient progresses further into adulthood.

Therefore, the investigators wish to determine the time to disease progression (defined as 50% growth in size over baseline) for benign neurofibromas treated with PDT in patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) in subjects aged 14-30.

The treatment will consist of choosing several neurofibromas of similar size, and applying a topical drug called Levulan, or just the topical application alone (a placebo). Within 24 hours of drug treatment, the neurofibromas will be illuminated with red light (both Levulan and placebo). The Levulan is what is known as a photosensitizer, and will be activated by the red light to potentially kill some of the tumor cells. Approximately every 6 months after, for three years, the tumors will be measured by digital photography and ultrasound to see if they are growing more slowly than the ones with the placebo application alone.

Treatment aminolevulinic acid, PDT Treatment
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT02728388
SponsorHarry T Whelan, MD
Last Modified on14 September 2023

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