The bacteria-killing properties of UV rays were discovered in the late 1800s, and a method was devised in the 1920s to treat blood with UV light to fight not only bacterial infections but also autoimmune disorders and viruses. That method was then known as BioPhotonic Therapy (BPT) and later as Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation (UBI). Using the UBI method, researchers conducted the first successful treatment of septic infection.
How Light Treats Disease
Light affects biological tissue becasue tissue contains photosensitive molecules called photoreceptors, which convert light energy into chemical energy. The chemical energy can cause a chain reaction of activity, starting with transforming an immature molecule into an active one, then adjusting interconnected proteins or enzymes, until gene expression and cell metabolism/motility have been altered. Ultimately then, the effect of light can go well beyond the initially affected cell.
Light therapy used to treat disease operates similarly. Medical researchers have discovered that particular cells absorb specific wavelengths of light, referred to as their "absorption spectrum." Because different cells have different absorption spectrums, researchers are able to identify cells that can be targeted while leaving neighboring cells intact. So the application of light therapy that uses specific light parameters promotes the altering of only the targeted cells. Researchers further learned that by combining wavelengths of light, they are able to use light therapy to generate a more comprehensive clinical response to treat disease.
Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation (UBI)
Ultraviolet blood irradiation (UBI) is a process in which blood is extracted from the body, exposed to ultraviolet rays, and then reinjected it into the body. It results in a detoxification effect that yields excellent results with minimal side effects. UBI has been used to treat bacterial infections, viruses, and autoimmune diseases such as pneumonia and hepatitis. Its use declined in the 1950s due to increased use of antibiotics, creation of the polio vaccine, and other medical advancements. Today, however, there is renewed interest in UBI due to its significant impact on the blood. Another form of light therapy known as extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP) has proven effective in treating a type of lymphoma and is showing promise in clinical trials as being effective for a number of autoimmune diseases.
UBI works by changing a nick in the DNA strand of viruses or bacteria so that they are better recognized by the immune system. With the UBI method, smaller bacterial and viral cells are targeted during the irradiation process, killing the disease cells and making them capable of stimulating the production of antibodies. The irradiated blood self-generates a vaccine, called an “autogenous vaccine,” that has wide-ranging benefits, listed below1:
- Kills harmful bacteria and viruses in the blood
- Supercharges the immune system
- Improves circulation
- Oxygenates tissue
- Produces a balancing effect called homeostasis
- Reduces pain in tissues
- Increases tolerance to radiation or chemotherapy
- Provides cardiovascular protection through increased metabolism of cholesterol, uric acid, and glucose
- Produces anti-inflammatory effects
- Instills anti-infection properties
- Stimulates production of red blood cells
- Improves the flow and properties of blood
1Physicians UBI Awareness Center: to make known the wonderful healing power of UV light. BioPhotonic Therapy: What does it do? Retrieved from Physicians UBI Awareness Center website.
Side effects of UBI are nonexistent in most cases, but they are minimal when present. They include flushing of the face immediately after treatment, slight elevation in body temperature, and having flu-like symptoms within the first 24 hours. Those who have chronic conditions such as bronchial asthma, nasal sinusitis, and rheumatic disease may experience an aggravation of those symptoms.
IV Light Therapy
Presented in 2015 at the Aesthetic & Anti-Aging Medicine World Conference, intravenous (IV) light therapy joins the myriad of IV treatments now being used in medicine. IV light therapy is gaining attention due to advancements that enable ultraviolet (UV) light to be injected intravenously into the body, a different method of delivery from UBI.
IV light therapy is used to treat inflammation, defined here as the body’s protective response to harmful stimuli, which may be either acute or chronic.
Chronic inflammation is associated with a number of diseases and conditions, including allergies, asthma, atherosclerosis, autoimmune diseases, autoinflammatory diseases, celiac disease, depression, cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, heart disease and high blood pressure, hepatitis, inflammatory pelvic and bowel diseases, Lyme’s disease, pneumonia, rheumatic fever, rheumatoid arthritis, some cancers, and HIV and AIDS.
In IV light therapy, a catheter containing an optical fiber shoots wavelengths of ultraviolet light directly into the bloodstream. Because specific wavelengths of UV light have been clinically proven to reduce pathogens and lower inflammation caused by high cortisol levels, IV light therapy is a promising technique to reduce inflammation. Administration of UV light through this method has been clinically proven to reduce pain and hasten healing. Already used throughout much of Europe to accelerate wound healing, decrease pain, and reduce inflammation, IV light therapy is now one of the latest treatments being introduced in the U.S.
A device currently under review by the FDA can treat 98% of blood volume without removing it from the body, as compared to other systems that can only treat 1-2% of blood volume. This device also combines UV light with red and green wavelengths to produce beneficial effects on the skin—lesser acne, improved circulation, and increased collagen production.
At RevitaLife and its partner practice, Sarasota Interventional Radiology, Dr. Grubbs is intimately involved with the review of this new leading edge technology as therapeutic treatment for acute and chronic inflammation.