Photobiomodulation Gains Ground as a Viable Treatment for a Host of Medical Conditions

Research presented at the 35th Annual Conference of the American Society for Laser Medicine & Surgery, Inc. (ASLMS) Conference adds to the growing body of evidence that light can used effectively to treat disease and prevent injury

Wausau, WI – May 27, 2015  The Photobiomodulation Abstract Sessions at the 2015 ASLMS Annual Conference featured a number of hot topics including:

  • Near-Infrared Light Stimulates Bone Repair After Ionizing Radiation
  • Photobiomodulation Increases Endurance During Exercise
  • Near-Infrared Light Combined With Stem Cells Repairs Articular Cartilage Defects
  • Photobiomodulation: A Promising Therapy for Low Back and Neuropathic Pain – Pre-clinical and Clinical Evidence.

Photobiomodulation is also known as low level light therapy or laser therapy. However, according to Juanita J. Anders, Ph.D., "with the wider number of light devices that are being used to stimulate cell and tissue processes, the name photobiomodulation better describes the underlying mechanism." In November of 2015, the NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine (MeSH) plans to adopt “Photobiomodulation Therapy” as an official MeSH term. 


Dr. Anders is a leading expert in the field of Photobiomodulation. She is Professor of Anatomy, Physiology and Genetics and Professor of Neuroscience at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Dr. Anders has held positions within ASLMS since 1991 and most recently served as photobiomodulation session co-chair and 2014-2015 ASLMS President.

“Innovative, quality research presented over the years at the annual ASLMS Photobiomodulation (PBM) abstract sessions has been instrumental in establishing PBM as a viable treatment for a number of medical problems for which there is currently no effective treatment. The research presented this year in the PBM sessions adds to the growing body of evidence defining the mechanistic basis and efficacy of PBM,” noted Anders. “The preclinical and clinical research presented indicated novel applications of PBM for treatment of hypertension, improving the mobility of elderly patients, combining light and stem cell therapies for repair of the articular surfaces of joints and the use of PBM as an effective non-pharmaceutical treatment of neuropathic pain. The field of PBM is developing rapidly and I am proud of the role that ASLMS has played in establishment of this novel and important therapeutic modality."

 “This year's Photobiomodulation sessions expanded our knowledge base and provided new insights into the science and application of light to influence cellular function, improve function and endurance, and to modify or prevent disease and disability,” said Raymond J. Lanzafame, M.D., M.B.A., co-director of the Photobiomodulation sessions. “Scientists from around the world presented their basic research on photobiomodulation of stem cells to induce healing of cartilage; optimizing proliferation of myoblasts (i.e. muscle cells); inducing apoptosis (i.e. programmed cell death) of squamous cancer cells; influencing macrophage activity in neuropathic pain; and the effects of photobiomodulation on calcium channels in astrocytes.

Clinical scientists discussed the use of PBM to reduce lymphedema; treat melasma; prevent photodamage; manage neuropathic and back pain; and improvement of functional fitness in the elderly and muscular endurance. Animal studies demonstrated that light can be used to influence autonomic activity and manage hypertension. These studies further our understanding of the broad range of influences that light has on biological systems and provides more evidence that light can be used in a way that is similar to the use of drugs to treat disease and prevent injury.”

Dr. Raymond J. Lanzafame is certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Laser Surgery. He is a past president and current Continuing Medical Education Director for ASLMS. He has received numerous awards, including the Ellet Drake, Leon Goldman and William Mark awards of ASLMS. His research interests include laser-tissue interactions, photobiomodulation, photodynamic therapy, minimally invasive surgery, robotics, imaging and education.

Gerald R. Ross, D.D.S., was co-director for the combined Photobiomodulation/North American Association for Light Therapy (NAALT) session. He concluded, “With our aging population neuropathic pain is seen more often; pharmacology has shown limited results. Photobiomodulation shows a great deal of promise with none of the negative side effects of medications.”


Dr. Gerald L. Ross works in private dental practice in Tottenham, Ontario. He holds an advanced proficiency status and is a registered course provider from the Academy of Laser Dentistry. He is a fellow of ASLMS and a member of the board of NAALT,  where he served as president from 2012-2013. Dr. Ross has presented more than 200 courses on surgical lasers and low level lasers both nationally and internationally.