The photosensitizing properties of bacteriochlorin a (BCA), a nontoxic derivative of bacteriochlorophyll a, were investigated in vivo. BCA has an absorption band at a wavelength at which tissue penetration is optimal (760 nm), and it shows preferential tumor retention in Greene melanoma implanted in the anterior chamber of rabbit eyes. A dose of 20 mg/kg BCA was administered IV at 4-7 mm tumor diameter; 24 hr later the tumor was irradiated with near-infrared light (30 min, 760 nm, 150-280 J/cm2). On the day after the irradiation it appeared that tumor growth had stopped: fluorescein angiography showed nonperfusion of the tumor. Histopathology after enucleation showed subtotal tumor necrosis with occasionally small clusters of viable cells around a blood vessel and at the tumor periphery. Neither BCA nor light alone had any effect on the eye or melanoma.