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Over many centuries, treatment with sunlight or “heliotherapy” was used in the treatment of skin diseases. More than 3500 years ago, ancient Egyptian and Indian healers used the ingestion of plant extracts or seeds in addition to sunlight for treating “leucoderma”. Modern phototherapy began with Nobel Prize winner Niels Finsen who developed a “chemical rays” lamp with which he treated patients with skin tuberculosis. However, it took several decades until phototherapy was introduced anew into the dermatological armamentarium. It was the development of photochemotherapy (PUVA) in 1974 that marked the beginning of a huge upsurge in photodermatology. The subsequent development of high intensity UV sources with defined spectra facilitated an optimized therapy for psoriasis and led to an expansion of indications for photo(chemo)therapy also in combination with topical and systemic agents. The introduction of extracorporeal photopheresis in 1987 for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and of topical photodynamic therapy widely expanded the therapeutic possibilities in dermato-oncology.
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Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences
- Information Point