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Claims for Patent: 6,709,446

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Claims for Patent: 6,709,446

Title: Illuminator for photodynamic therapy and diagnosis which produces substantially uniform intensity visible light
Abstract:An apparatus and method for photodynamic therapy or photodynamic diagnosis using an illuminator comprising a plurality of light sources generally conforming to a contoured surface and irradiating the contoured surface with substantially uniform intensity visible light. The light sources may comprise generally U-shaped fluorescent tubes that are driven by electronic ballasts. Adjustment of the ballast voltage controls the output power of the tubes. The tubes are supported by a sheet-metal or plastic housing and are covered by a polycarbonate shield which directs cooling airflow within the unit and prevents glass-patient contact in the event of tube breakage. An aluminum reflector located behind the tubes increases both the output irradiance and the uniformity of the output distribution. The spacing of the U-shaped tubes is varied to increase the output at the edges of the illuminator to make the output more uniform. Also, different portions of the tubes are cooled at different amounts, to improve uniformity. A light sensor monitors output from the U-shaped tubes to provide a signal for adjusting the output from the tubes.
Inventor(s): Lundahl; Scott (Lexington, MA), Kozodoy; Rebecca (Randolph, MA), Carroll; Ronald (Hingham, MA), Leppelmeier; Elton (Highland Height, OH)
Assignee: Dusa Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Toronto, CA)
Application Number:09/774,084
Patent Claims: 1. An illuminator for diagnosing or treating a contoured surface, the illuminator comprising: an array of light sources supported by a housing, the array of light sources having a cross-section including an arc-shaped portion and configured to conform to a portion of a patient and to illuminate skin of the patient with light substantially entirely within the visible region, the housing defining an opening in said cross-section configured to permit relative movement between the patient and said array and configured to remain free of said light sources during illumination.

2. An illuminator as set forth in claim 1, wherein said array of light sources has a longitudinal axis and the opening is configured to permit said relative movement perpendicular to said longitudinal axis.

3. An illuminator as set forth in claim 1, wherein the illuminator is configured to illuminate the patient with substantially uniform intensity visible light.

4. An illuminator as set forth in claim 1, wherein said array is approximately U-shaped.

5. An illuminator as set forth in claim 1, wherein said housing is approximately U-shaped.

6. An illuminator as set forth in claim 1, wherein said array is configured to illuminate the face of the patient.

7. An illuminator as set forth in claim 1, wherein said array is configured to illuminate an upper portion of the patient while at the same time not illuminating a lower portion of the patient.

8. An illuminator as set forth in claim 1, wherein the array illuminates the patient with light substantially entirely within the blue region.

9. An illuminator as set forth in claim 1, wherein the light sources are curved.

10. An illuminator as set forth in claim 1, further comprising a reflector behind the light sources.

11. An illuminator as set forth in claim 1, wherein the housing comprises a central region and at least two arms extending from respective ends of the central region.

12. An illuminator as set forth in claim 1, further comprising a shield in front of the light sources.

13. An illuminator as set forth in claim 1, further comprising a sensor to monitor the light sources.

14. An illuminator as set forth in claim 1, further comprising an optical system for directing light from the light sources.

15. An illuminator as set forth in claim 1, wherein the housing comprises at least two arms.

16. A method for diagnosing or treating a contoured surface of a patient, comprising: providing an illuminator having an array of light sources supported by a housing, the array of light sources having a cross-section including an arc-shaped portion and configured to conform to a portion of the patient and to illuminate skin of the patient with light substantially entirely within the visible region, the housing defining an opening in said cross-section configured to permit relative movement between the patient and said array and configured to remain free of said light sources during illumination; and placing a patient near said illuminator and illuminating the patient to diagnose or treat the patient.

17. A method as set forth in claim 16, wherein the patient is illuminated with light to treat actinic keratoses.

18. A method as set forth in claim 16, wherein the patient is illuminated with light to treat acne.

19. A method as set forth in claim 16, wherein the patient is illuminated with light to treat photo damaged skin.

20. A method as set forth in claim 16, wherein the patient is illuminated with light to remove hair.

21. A method as set forth in claim 16, wherein the patient is illuminated with light to diagnose cancer.

22. A method as set forth in claim 16, wherein the patient is illuminated with light to treat cancer.

23. A method as set forth in claim 16, wherein the patient is illuminated with light to treat warts.

24. A method as set forth in claim 16, wherein the patient is illuminated with light to treat psoriasis.

25. An illuminator as set forth in claim 6, wherein the light sources produce light having a peak intensity in the yellow region.

26. A method as set forth in claim 16, further comprising: placing a patient near said illuminator and illuminating the patient to photodynamically diagnose or treat the patient.
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