[Published in Newsmax]
Rapidly mainstreaming breakthrough medical research, sometimes called "bench to bedside," has become a bipartisan priority. The rapid development and dissemination of COVID-19 vaccines established a new focus on how lives can be saved and improved if regulatory pathways, research resources, and the medical professional acceptance were better aligned.
Dr. Tara Schwetz, a senior member of the President's Office of Science and Technology, is driving the establishment of the new Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). Legislation to establish and fund ARPA-H is now moving through Congress.
This new agency is patterned after the Defense Department's DARPA, the "gold standard" for creative, paradigm-busting research and application.
One of the premiere examples of a paradigm-busting breakthrough medical technology is Photobiomodulation (PBM), also known as red light therapy.
PBM's effectiveness and future were recently showcased when scientists and practitioners presented their latest research to leaders from research institutions, research hospitals, cancer clinics, and medical schools at PBM2021.
Dr. Schwetz joined members of Congress as a keynote speaker to address scientists and medical professionals from 20 countries at the PBM2021 Global Conference on the importance of innovative medical technology.
PBM is a noninvasive, FDA cleared, medical technology that directs red and near-infrared light into mitochondria to restore normal cell function and reduce inflammation. It is a natural process aiding a natural process.
PBM has been used in over 100 million patient treatments without any documented side effects. PBM's role in speeding recovery and reducing side-effects from cancer treatments is documented as reducing the cost of care by up to 73%.
PBM therapy is successfully helping veterans with managing pain, treating neurological conditions, and speeding wound healing throughout the Veterans Integrated Services Networks (VISNs), including the Martinsburg VA Medical Center, the VA Boston Healthcare System, the Salt Lake City VAMC, and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago.
PBM prevents the painful side effects of cancer chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC) recommends PBM as the standard of care for preventing oral mucositis. PBM is now preventing cancer therapy side effects at leading cancer centers, including St. Jude's Children Research Hospital, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard
PBM therapy's efficacy is supported by over 800 randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and 8,000 research studies, many published in leading scientific journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and The Lancet.
There are currently over 190 active PBM clinical trials. Awareness of, and support for, PBM therapy is expanding thanks to formal presentations to policy leaders on its benefits for pain management, wound healing, and preventing cancer therapy side effects.
These presentations ranged from congressional briefings to testimony before the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), federal Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force, the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) Board of Scientific Counselors, and the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
Photobiomodulation's "light revolution" hopes to follow in the path blazed by other important medical technology that went from exotic to commonplace. MRIs and sonograms are just two breakthrough technologies that overcame initial resistance to become integral to maintaining our health.