Light Therapy for Improved Burn Healing
NODE SMITH, ND
Light therapy may accelerate the healing of burns, according to a University at Buffalo-led study.
The research, published in Scientific Reports, found that photobiomodulation therapy — a form of low-dose light therapy capable of relieving pain and promoting healing and tissue regeneration — sped up recovery from burns and reduced inflammation in mice by activating endogenous TGF-beta 1, a protein that controls cell growth and division.
The findings may impact therapeutic treatments for burn injuries, which affect more than 6 million people worldwide each year, says lead investigator Praveen Arany, DDS, PhD, assistant professor of oral biology in the UB School of Dental Medicine.
“Photobiomodulation therapy has been effectively used in supportive cancer care, age-related macular degeneration and Alzheimer’s disease,” says Arany. “A common feature among these ailments is the central role of inflammation. This work provides evidence for the ability of photobiomodulation-activated TGF-beta 1 in mitigating the inflammation, while promoting tissue regeneration utilizing an elegant, transgenic burn wound model.”
The study measured the effect of photobiomodulation on the closure of third-degree burns over a period of nine days.
The treatment triggered TGFbeta 1, which stimulated various cell types involved in healing, including fibroblasts (the main connective tissue cells of the body that play an important role in tissue repair) and macrophages (immune cells that lower inflammation, clean cell debris and fight infection).
The researchers also developed a precise burn healing protocol for photobiomodulation treatments to ensure additional thermal injuries are not inadvertently generated by laser use.
The effectiveness of photobiomodulation in treating pain and stimulating healing has been documented in hundreds of clinical trials and thousands of academic papers. The therapy was recently recommended as a standard treatment for pain relief from cancer-associated oral mucositis (inflammation and lesions in the mouth) by the Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer.
1. Imran Khan, Saeed Ur Rahman, Elieza Tang, Karl Engel, Bradford Hall, Ashok B. Kulkarni, Praveen R. Arany. Accelerated burn wound healing with photobiomodulation therapy involves activation of endogenous latent TGF-β1. Scientific Reports, 2021; 11 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-92650-w
Node Smith, ND is a naturopathic physician in Humboldt, Saskatchewan and associate editor and continuing education director for NDNR. His mission is serving relationships that support the process of transformation, and that ultimately lead to healthier people, businesses and communities. His primary therapeutic tools include counselling, homeopathy, diet and the use of cold water combined with exercise. Node considers health to be a reflection of the relationships a person or a business has with themselves, with God and with those around them. In order to cure disease and to heal, these relationships must be specifically considered. Node has worked intimately with many groups and organizations within the naturopathic profession, and helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic Revitalization (ANR), which works to promote and facilitate experiential education in vitalism.