Treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection with intra-gastric violet light phototherapy: A pilot clinical trial


  • The technology is being commercialized by LumeRx, Inc. of Marlborough, MA. The authors declare the following competing financial interests. R.A.G., P.L., and J.R.M. are stockholders in LumeRx; C.K., P.L. and M.R.H. received consulting fees from LumeRx; R.A.G. has licensed a patent to LumeRx; A.J.L., R.A.G., D.C., S.S., J.L., and M.R.H. received research support from LumeRx; and P.T.K., P.C.B., W.R.L., and J.R.M. were employees of LumeRx. M.R.H. was supported by NIH R01AI050875.


Background and Objective

Helicobacter pylori infects the mucus layer of the human stomach and causes peptic ulcers and adenocarcinoma. We have previously shown that H. pylori accumulates photoactive porphyrins making the organism susceptible to inactivation by light, and that small spot endoscopic illumination with violet light reduced bacterial load in human stomachs. This study assessed the feasibility and safety of whole-stomach intra-gastric violet phototherapy for the treatment of H. pylori infection.

Study Design/Materials and Methods

A controlled, prospective pilot trial was conducted using a novel light source consisting of laser diodes and diffusing fibers to deliver 408-nm illumination at escalating total fluences to the whole stomach. Eighteen adults (10 female) with H. pylori infection were treated at three U.S. academic endoscopy centers. Quantitative bacterial counts were obtained from biopsies taken from the antrum, body, and fundus, and serial urea breath tests.


The largest reduction in bacterial load was in the antrum (>97%), followed by body (>95%) and fundus (>86%). There was a correlation between log reduction and initial bacterial load in the antrum. There was no dose–response seen with increasing illumination times. The urea breath test results indicated that the bacteria repopulated in days following illumination.


Intra-gastric violet light phototherapy is feasible and safe and may represent a novel approach to eradication of H. pylori, particularly in patients who have failed standard antibiotic treatment. This was a pilot study involving a small number of patients. Further research is needed to determine if phototherapy can be effective for eradicating H. pylori. Lasers Surg. Med. 41:337–344, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.