An international research team has called for the introduction of Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) to be recommended as a daily therapy to protect the mouths of patients receiving chemo. and radiotherapy.

The annual conference of the World Association of Laser Therapy meeting this weekend on the Gold Coast will hear from researchers, including Dr Raj Nair from Griffith University’s School of Dentistry and Oral Health, who believe LLLT has cleared the necessary hurdles and should be recommended as a form of supportive care in cancer therapy.

“This process is not new, we’ve been doing it in all sorts of therapeutic situations for a while, it’s just what we are developing is a particular treatment for the mouth. The therapy can be effectively regulated for each patient and significantly reduces the effects of chemotherapy, stem cell transplantation and radiotherapy,” said Dr Nair.

Many people going through cancer treatment experience diseases of the mouth due to a reduced rate of cell reproduction called oral mucositis. This compromises the saliva production causing dryness of the mouth.

Saliva contains the enzymes and cells necessary to protect the mouth from diseases transmitted by the things we put in our mouths.

The LLLT therapy, which Dr Nair calls Photomedicine uses light to stimulate the energy sacks inside cells, called mitochondria while getting rid of bad molecules. It is the energy in these cells which allow them to reproduce at the high rate needed to keep the mouth healthy and intact.

“I don’t like calling it laser therapy because people think you’re cutting something, also the frequency of light used is much lower in the spectrum than a ‘surgical laser’” he said.

A global analyses of Phototherapy treatment in people with cancers by Dr Nair and researchers in France, found no ill-effects of the therapy and it was safe enough to use daily in conjunction with cancer therapy to prevent and treat orofacial complications.

The results were published in the international journal Current Opinion in Oncology.

“In recent years Phototherapy devices have become much more user friendly and easily calibrated so therapists can easily adjust them for specific individuals and circumstances.

“We believe the World Association for Laser Therapy and the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer should endorse this form of therapy as part of their treatment guidelines for oral mucositis,” Dr Nair said.

The World Association for laser Therapy Conference will be held at QT on the Gold Coast from September 28 to 30.