The precise etiopathology of oral mucositis is unclear but the major symptoms of the disease manifest as pain and inflammation. The role of immune dysregulation and perturbed wound healing are implicit, but remain unexplored as yet. Our lab research is focused on assessing the ability of photobiomduation to promote oral wound healing and reduce pain and inflammation. Although our ultimate clinical endpoint is human therapy, these studies are severely limited by both ethical and practical concerns such as loss of function strategies, that are definitive proof for scientific investigations, would involve withholding or nullifying potential therapeutic benefit, possibly aggravating disease conditions in subjects. Therefore, we are pursuing animal models to perform mechanistic loss-of-function studies using biochemical and transgenic strategies. Finally, the precise phenomenon of how light therapy, a physical form of electromagnetic radiation energy converts into biochemical agents like ROS, is being explored via collaborations with physicists and radiation biologists. Our ultimate goal is to applying our understanding of the regulatory aspects of wound healing into developing PBM as an efficacious clinical tool for oral mucositis management.
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