Boston, USA, July 11, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- At the 17th International Photodynamic Association World Congress in Boston, Massachusetts, the team of Professors Vanderlei Bagnato, Mauricio Baptista and Cristina Kurachi from University of São Paulo, Brazil were the 2019 recipients of the IPA Humanitarianism Award.

The Brazilian team of professors from the University of São Paulo are recognised as global leaders in the field of Photodynamic therapy (PDT) and Photomedicine. They have worked individually and as a multidisciplinary team to develop, implement and promote PDT-based therapies that have significantly improved outcomes for people with and without access to modern healthcare in Brazil and other parts of Latin America.

Professors Bagnato, Baptista and Kurachi are being recognized by the IPA for their personal and team efforts to advance a national health program involving PDT treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma), through a successful new model for public/private/academic sector collaboration, providing PDT in clinics across the remote and rural parts of Brazil. Clinical data being collected from this humanitarian project will inform global, as well as Brazilian healthcare systems about the relative cost, efficacy and ease of implementation advantages of PDT in these traditionally underserved regions. Thousands of patients without access to medical care have been successfully treated under this program over the past few years.

Professor Vanderlei Salvador Bagnato of the Department of Physics and Materials Science, University of São Paulo and the Institute of Physics of São Carlos, has been instrumental in the translation of PDT research into commercial deployment in Brazil. Working closely with industry, academia and government, Professor Bagnato was key to the implementation of PDT for the treatment of cancer, HPV control, oral and other topical infections into the Brazilian healthcare system. He plays a key role in developing advanced, cost effective, field worthy equipment accelerating translation of validated science into better patient outcomes. For his contributions to Brazilian patient quality of life, he has been recognized with numerous awards.

Professor Mauricio S. Baptista is Head of the Department of Biochemistry, University of São Paulo. His research focuses on advanced organic/inorganic hybrid photosensitizers aiming to develop better photosensitizers and sun protecting agents. He is also developing new dual action photochemotherapy for the treatment of Leishmaniasis, a disease caused by parasites spread by the bite of certain types of sandflies.  

Cristina Karachi, Professor at the University of São Paulo, has an extensive research background in antimicrobial and cancer-based PDT.  She serves a critical role in the development and coordination of products, protocols, training, data collection and analysis for PDT-based clinical trials in Brazil. Professor Kurachi has been instrumental in the national program to implement PDT for basal cell carcinoma and the dissemination of PDT in Brazil and many countries in Latin America.

IPA World Congress

The Boston World Congress was the 17th conference held by the International Photodynamic Association, marking 34 years of this global meeting. The IPA World Congresses, held every two years, are the leading PDT meetings bringing together members of the global photodynamic community to advance scientific and clinical research relating to photodiagnosis and photodynamic therapies. The Boston World Congress was led by Congress Chair and IPA President Dr. Tayyaba Hasan, Professor of Dermatology at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Harvard Medical School (HMS) and a Professor of Health Sciences and Technology (Harvard-MIT) and had record attendance with representatives from 33 countries.  The 2021 IPA World Congress will be hosted in Moscow, Russia and the 2023 IPA World Congress will be held in Shanghai, China.

About Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a combination therapy involving light activated photosensitizers to diagnose and treat various types and stages of cancers and pre-cancers, macular degeneration and multidrug-resistant infections involving bacteria, viruses and fungi. First developed in the 1980s, PDT has demonstrated superior patient outcomes with considerable cost savings. Over the past 30 years, millions of patients globally have been successfully treated with PDT.

About the International Photodynamic Association

The International Photodynamic Association (IPA) was founded in 1986 to support and endorse the scientific advancement and clinical development of photodynamic therapy and photodiagnosis. With members and associates from over 30 countries, the IPA represents a truly global community consisting of prominent international scientists, clinicians and translational researchers, healthcare professionals and students across academic, hospital, government and private sector organizations. The IPA promotes the study of diagnosis and treatment using light-activated photosensitizers and disseminates scientific information to its members, the research community, and to the community at large. The IPA organizes a biennial World Congress around the world, providing members and non-members a unique opportunity to share and learn more about global developments relating specifically to photodynamic therapy and photodiagnosis. 

For further information: ipasecretary@internationalphotodynamic.com

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Angelika Vance
International Photodynamic Association
6048382702
ipasecretary@internationalphotodynamic.com