Skip To Content

Photobiomodulation Incubator 

30 August - 1 September 2015
OSA Headquarters, 2010 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC, USA

Hosted By


Michael R. Hamblin, Harvard Medical School, United States
Donald E. Patthoff, DDS, United States
Gregory J. Quarles, EdgeLight Incorporated, United States

Advisory Committee
Juanita Anders, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, United States
Praveen Arany, National Institute of Health, United States
James Carroll, THOR Photomedicine Ltd, United States
Brian A. Pryor, LiteCure, LLC, United States
Clark Tedford, LumiThera, Inc., United States

Program Overview  (AGENDA)

This Incubator will be focused on the discussion and dissemination of scientifically sound research in the field of Photobiomodulation (PBM) also known as low-light-level therapy.  It is the second Incubator meeting on this topic and will bring together a broad group of highly qualified individuals working in the area of laser and light-based medical research and therapeutic devices to discuss the future of PBM in health.  A key aim of the meeting will be to articulate a common mission for PBM research and applications.  It will feature speakers with a current portfolio of peer-reviewed scientific publications who will address topics focused on the techniques and applications of low-light-level therapy, including therapeutic devices and applications, used to stimulate cellular function leading to beneficial clinical effects.  Equally important will be interaction with experts in medical technology adoption and translational medicine, along with discussions about the FDA assessment process, barriers to publication of PBM research, and other related topics.


An OSA incubator focused on Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT), held in August 2014, was organized to discuss the scientific realities and the public perception of LLLT. It also stimulated broader awareness of Photo-Bio-Modulation (PBM) as a newly recognized scientific term.  All medical lasers and light-based technologies, regardless of their specific photo-physical mechanics and parameters, have some ability to activate PBM mechanisms.  

At that meeting in 2014 a broad mix of disciplines overviewed decades of clinical use and lab studies of PBM; they noted minimal mining of related medical-radiation or basic photobiology research that could help lead to a better understanding of PBM’s natural characteristics. They concluded that even though the recognition of PBM science is still young, and though highly knowledgeable and skilled researchers in PBM are finally beginning to affiliate themselves with this research area, more needs to be accomplished to strengthen the recognition of the scientific merit of much of this research. Several PBM-based therapeutic uses are currently being prepared for mainstream health-care.  However, it is clear that more research and long-term clinical studies are needed to realize the full potential of PBM.  In order to achieve that there will need to be continuing, coordinated efforts by all parties concerned with PBM to work together for recognition and funding.

Scope and Featured Topics

At the forefront of PBM is the clinical and laboratory research required to understand the underlying mechanisms for cellular-level stimulation. First and foremost, the proper protocols need to be investigated and determined to mitigate and dispel the assumptions that portions of this field are driven by anecdotal evidence and placebo effects. Research continues to demonstrate that a correct dose of laser irradiation can improve pain relief, inflammation, immune system functioning, nerve regeneration, and the rate and quality of acute and chronic wound healing.

There exist several professional laser-based health-care groups currently discussing and sharing the evolving understanding of PBM mechanisms.  They include biological and physics researchers, various clinician groups, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs. These groups are diverse and dynamic but are not always functionally-integrated.  There is a clear need to establish a mechanism to recognize and support such groups so they can more easily share information and collaborate. This Incubator seeks to provide a venue for these diverse groups to collaborate and share information by exploring key topics and questions including highlighting the most convincing preclinical and clinical evidence for PBM and discussing instrumentation and devices that are currently available, FDA approvals and regulations, and real or perceived roadblocks to acceptance.

It is anticipated that an overview of our current understanding of the mechanistic basis for PBM (not specifically related to any one application) will be given along with discussion about specific areas of application such as:

  1. Physical therapy/Musculoskeletal applications: exercise preconditioning and improved function in the elderly

  2. CNS applications: Cognitive recovery, neuroprotection, nerve regeneration and neurodegenerative diseases

  3. Tissue Repair and Regeneration: Macular degeneration, wound healing, stem cells for regeneration, peripheral nerve regeneration

  4. Analgesia: Chronic, Neuropathic, back, neck


Finally, the meeting will be a venue for a practical discussion of what efforts and next steps are needed to unify the field of PBM, including formal meetings, interaction with funding agencies, and related issues.


Image for keeping the session alive