Oral diseases are the fourth most expensive diseases to treat globally (WHO, 2005), so developing new therapeutic management strategies to address these unmet needs in our population offers considerable public health benefit as well as potential for new product development.
Currently, there is considerable interest in the development of non-antibiotic-based bacterial disinfection therapies as increasing antibiotic resistance is a major concern within the healthcare community. Indeed, the World Health Organisation has recently identified antibiotic resistance as a major threat to global public health. Specific wavelengths of visible light are able to kill bacteria either directly (via endogenous porphyrin activation) or by photo-activation of exogenous molecules (photosensitizers, e.g. phytonutrients) by photodynamic therapy (PDT). Both killing mechanisms are mediated by reactive oxygen species (ROS) either released from the intracellular bacterial porphyrins or exogenous photosensitizers. Currently, the use of light for intra-oral antibacterial treatment is limited and available commercial devices are far from optimised, therefore their efficacy for disease prevention and treatment is yet to be fully realised.
The proposed studies aim to optimise PDT conditions in order to enhance their antibacterial action and offer other local benefits (e.g. reductions in inflammation).