The Three Myths About Photodisinfection

I’ve talked before about how photodisinfection works, but I want to take a moment to clarify what I think are the three most common myths about the technology we’re working on here at Ondine.

It’s Not That New

Our products are often met with scepticism because people are unfamiliar with photodisinfection as a treatment, or even as a science.  Truth be told, photodisinfection has existed for over 100 years[i], and the research behind it has a solid foundation in the literature extending back well over 20 years.  Check out this short reference list if you don’t believe me. So why, with all this research, is photodisinfection only creeping into the marketplace now?  The simple answer is that, until Ondine, most companies have been a little hesitant to put the work in to make it a success.  Photodisinfection requires a lot from a company: an engineering team for a light source, a microbiology team for the preclinical tests, a chemistry team for the careful formulation of the photosensitizer and a regulatory team to get the product cleared for use in trials and approved clinical use.  When you add in quality control, finance, administration, and sales and marketing, you can see the inherent challenges facing a company. You can trust me that the science is there (and growing), and Ondine has proven that it has what it takes to make these products a reality.

It’s Not an Antibiotic

I really can’t stress this one enough.  My education in genetics prompted me to write a 4 post series on antibiotic resistance (have a read, it’s full of analogies), but the fact that photodisinfection doesn’t fall victim to resistance[ii], [iii] is just the tip of the iceberg.

  • It works immediately – not after days of pills or IV fluids.
  • It is localized, thus preventing any chance of eliminating “good bacteria” found elsewhere – systemic antibiotics are often implicated in nasty infections like those caused by  Clostridium difficile, one of the most deadly complications a patient can experience in the hospital.
  • It is topical, limiting the chance of toxicity or drug interactions to an almost negligible level.
  • It inactivates inflammatory molecules – very few antibiotics can do this, and the effect is rather limited.  Photodisinfection sometimes looks to be more effective at this than it is at killing bacteria, a remarkable feat given that >99.99% bacterial kills are pretty ordinary in our labs.

It’s Not as Simple as it Looks

Photodisinfection looks too good to be true.  Put some blue liquid on it, shine a light on it and you’re done.  We wish it was that easy.  The reaction is power and time dependent – not enough of either, and we might not kill enough bacteria.  The formulation is painstakingly developed to have just the right amount of the active molecule, preservatives, thickening agents and other additives to produce a potent reaction, while still being useful.  Different sensitizers have different properties, and might need different wavelengths for activation, and might target very different cells.  The complications go on and on, and we employ some of the brightest minds in the field to make sure we get it right.

I hope this post was informative for anyone without an understanding of the value of photodisinfection.  I’ll get back to some more technical writing soon!


[i] 0. Raab, Zeit. Biologie 39, 524—546 (1900).

[ii] Tavares, A et al. Antimicrobial Photodynamic Therapy: Study of Bacterial Recovery Viability and Potential Development of Resistance after Treatment

[iii] Pedigo, LA et al. Absence of bacterial resistance following repeat exposure to photodynamic therapy

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9 Responses to “The Three Myths About Photodisinfection”

  1. Iris Capo says:

    How does one get into a clinical trial for chronic sinus?
    Thank you,

  2. Lisa says:

    I am interested in a trial for my daughter

    • Clarence Chew says:

      Hi Lisa, thank you for your interest. As we have multiple applications for Photodisinfection, which condition does your daughter suffer from?

      Regards,
      Clarence

  3. lorna says:

    My son has had 4 sinus surgeries and I’m interested in getting more info on how to get treatment using photodisinfection.
    Thanks!

    • Clarence Chew says:

      Hi Lorna, thank you for your interest in our technology. I truly feel for your son’s condition. I’ve just emailed you more information.

      Best,
      Clarence

  4. Elke houser says:

    Hmmm, sounds interesting..would like mo info, maybe clinical trials? I have issues with sinusitis for nearly 40 years! Encouraging this might help! Thanks

  5. Aerial says:

    I am highly interested in a trial. Does it work for MRSA colonization in the nose? I will try anything.

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