The principle of UVA PIT Photo Immune Therapy (Photopheresis)

Photopheresis (also known as extracorporeal photopheresis or ECP) is a therapy where the patient’s blood is collected to harvest the white blood cells with an apheresis system. The collected white blood cells (buffy coat) are treated with a photosensitizer / photoactivator and subsequently are being irradiated with UVA light. This photoactivation has fundamental influence to the cell process and leads to an alteration and activation of the patient’s own immune system.¹

The Photo Immune Therapy is usually done by three principal phases:

  • The collection phase where lymphocytes and mononuclear cells are collected, preferably highly concentrated with low haematocrit
  • The irradiation phase in which the buffy coat is being irradiated with UVA light (2 J/cm²) under the presence of a photoactivator (8-MOP = 8 Methoxypsoralene)
  • The reinfusion phase where the treated cells are reinfused into the patient

Usually existing hospital services like haematology, transfusion medicine or blood bank already have a cell separator available (mono or dual needle flow continuous or discontinuous), which allows safe and high efficient leukapheresis in a fast manner with optimal buffy coat and high concentration of monocytes.


Classical treatment centers

      • Blood banks
      • Transfusion departments
      • Haematology
      • Dermatology
      • Nephrology
      • Rheumatology


Clinical Applications for UVA PIT Photo Immune Therapy²

      • GvHD (Graft-vs.-Host-Disease after allogenic bone marrow transplantation) – chronic & acute
      • CTCL (Cutanous T-Cell Lymphoma)
        Mycosis fungoides
        Sézary syndrome
      • SOT rejection (heart, lung, kidney, liver)
      • Lupus erythematosus
      • Rheumatoid arthritis
      • PSS (Progressive Systemic Sclerosis)
      • Atopic dermatitis
      • Pemphigus vulgaris
      • Crohn’s disease
      • Colitis ulcerosa
      • IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
      • Type 1 diabetes
      • Epidermolysis bullosa acquisita
      • Erosive oral Lichen Planus
      • Other autoimmune diseases


Treatment schedule

Every treatment center is developing its own specific customized treatment protocol. Generally it can be said that:

      • Always a double treatment on two consecutive days
      • Intensive treatment at the beginning = every week or twice a week
      • The treatment frequency is tapered individually depending on the patient’s response and given amount of immunosuppressive drugs


UVA PIT Photo Immune Therapy / 2- STEP-Photopheresis

      • Several thousands of treatments since 2005
      • UVA PIT Photo Immune Therapy with its unique algorithm that calculates photoactivation energy based on treatment volume, haematocrit % and UVA intensity
      • The Irradiation with the UVA PIT System has become a standard procedure in many treatment centres around the world and the treatment is performed on a daily basis in several institutions


Ex vivo treatment

      • More safety and patient comfort → The patient is disconnected during the irradiation of the buffy coat
      • Easy to understand technique


Side effects

      • Due to the ex vivo treatment the side effects of the photopheresis treatment for the patient are minimal
      • The possible side effect is light sensitivity (with oral 8-MOP), which is why the patient should wear UVA protective sunglasses and avoid direct sunlight exposure for ca. 24 hours after the treatment