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    Tuesday
    Jan162018

    Photobiomodulation: Regeneration without risk; Light-enabled tissue repair

    The noninvasive application of light to regrow teeth—and potentially to recover the functionality of damaged organs—is an appealing alternative to current options. Misunderstandings currently gating such treatments in no way diminish their potential.

    Affecting biological change by safely exposing endogenous compounds to light is exciting for many reasons. Not only has research demonstrated the effectiveness for such noninvasive therapies, but the approaches are also low cost, thereby promising to allow treatment for individuals across the globe who traditionally have not had access to healthcare technologies.

    Often called low-level light therapy (LLLT), photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy is a non-thermal process that uses non-ionizing light sources (either the coherent light of lasers or the non-coherent energy of LEDs) to trigger redox biology-chemical reactions in which the oxidation state of atoms is changed, normally through the transfer of electrons between chemical species.

    PBM is being applied and investigated for a wide range of applications, including the harnessing of stem cells for tissue regeneration. Regulatory proteins called growth factors can trigger stem cells (which occur naturally in the adult body) to differentiate into a range of functional cell types. The standard method of boosting stem cell proliferation is a multi-step process that involves extracting tissue, isolating stem cells and processing them in a lab, and then returning them to the body. Recent research shows, however, that noninvasive application of light can boost the natural growth of an individual's own stem cells to enable exciting new treatments.1

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