Skin, soft tissue infections succumb to blue light

Blue light can selectively eradicate Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections of the skin and soft tissues, while preserving the outermost layer of skin, according to a proof-of-principle study led by Michael R. Hamblin of the Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Harvard Medical School, Boston. The research is published online ahead of print in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy

"Blue light is a potential non-toxic, non-antibiotic approach for treating skin and , especially those caused by antibiotic ," says Hamblin.

In the study, animal models were infected with P. aeruginosa. All of the animals in the group treated with blue light survived, while in the control, 82 percent (9 out of 11) of the animals died.

Skin and soft tissue infections are the second most common bacterial infections encountered in clinical practice, and represent the most common infection presentation—more than 3 percent—in patients visiting emergency departments, says Hamblin. The prevalence of skin and soft tissue infections among hospitalized patients is 10 percent, with approximately 14.2 million ambulatory care visits every year and an annual associated medical cost of almost $24 billion (equivalent to $76 for every American), says Hamblin.

Treatment of skin and soft tissue infections has been significantly complicated by the explosion of antibiotic resistance, which may bring an end to what medical scientists refer to as the antibiotic era, says Hamblin. "Microbes replicate very rapidly, and a mutation that helps a microbe survive in the presence of an antibiotic drug will quickly predominate throughout the . Recently, a dangerous new enzyme, NDM-1, that makes some bacteria resistant to almost all antibiotics available has been found in the United States. Many physicians are concerned that several infections soon may be untreatable."

Besides harming public health, boosts . "Treating resistant skin and soft tissue infections often requires the use of more expensive, or more toxic drugs, and can result in longer hospital stays for infected patients," says Hamblin.

More information: A copy of the manuscript can be found online at bit.ly/asmtip0113b . Formal publication of the paper is scheduled for the March 2013 issue of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

T. Dai, A. Gupta, Y.-Y. Huang, R. Yin, C.K. Murray, M.S. Vrahas, M. Sherwood, G.P. Tegos, and M.R. Hamblin, 2013. Blue light rescues mice from potentially fatal Pseudomonas aeruginosa burn infection: efficacy, safety, and mechanism of action. Antim. Agents Chemother. Published ahead of print 21 December 2012, doi:10.1128/AAC.01652-12

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

UVC light kills wound bacteria

Jul 23, 2012

Ultraviolet (UVC) light can eradicate wound-infecting bacteria on mice increasing both survival and healing rates, according to a paper in the July 2012 issue of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. The light did not da ...

US 'super bugs' invading South America

Nov 12, 2008

Two clones of highly antibiotic-resistant organism strains, which previously had only been identified in the United States, are now causing serious sickness and death in several Colombian cities including the capital Bogotá, ...

Researchers closer to the super bug puzzle

Nov 11, 2011

Infectious diseases specialists from Austin Health are working closely with Microbiologists from the University of Melbourne to understand how Staph is becoming resistant to all antibiotic therapies.

Recommended for you

Senegal monitors contacts of 1st Ebola patient

8 hours ago

Senegalese authorities on Monday were monitoring everyone who was in contact with a student infected with Ebola who crossed into the country, and who has lost three family members to the disease.

Cerebral palsy may be hereditary

14 hours ago

Cerebral palsy is a neurological developmental disorder which follows an injury to the immature brain before, during or after birth. The resulting condition affects the child's ability to move and in some ...

19 new dengue cases in Japan, linked to Tokyo park

20 hours ago

Japan is urging local authorities to be on the lookout for further outbreaks of dengue fever, after confirming another 19 cases that were contracted at a popular local park in downtown Tokyo.

User comments