Frequently Asked Questions about PDI

What is antimicrobial resistance? Why should we care?

According to the WHO, antimicrobial resistance is a critical health issue today. Due to various reasons and to a different extent, pathogenic bacteria have developed resistance to each new antibiotic. This world wide health threat is aggravated by a dearth of new antibiotic substances. As a consequence, the need for alternative treatment modalities to avert a developing global crisis in health care is increasingly urgent.

How does Photodynamic Inactivation kill resistant bacteria?

Photodynamic Inactivation (PDI) represents a novel antibiotic tool based on a very gentle procedure. In a first step, a harmless light sensitive substance (a photosensitizer) is applied to the infected area and rapidly accumulates in bacteria. After 5-15 minutes the photosensitizer is illuminated with visible light (no UV, no radiation). This induces the formation of reactive oxygen molecules that kill bacteria by oxidative processes.

What are the advantages of Photodynamic Inactivation?

Photodynamic Inactivation is highly effective in killing multiresistant bacteria, yeasts, fungi and parasites. It has no side negative effects to the host´s tissue, is very cheap and immediately effective. Due to the unspecific method of action bacteria cannot develop resistance towards PDI.

Does ist hurt? Is PDI dangerous for the patient?

No. Due to the very short incubation period the photosensitizer can not enter the human body.

What is the focus of your laboratory?

We focus on high end research on PDI against bacteria and yeast with a specialization on using natural substances such as hypericin obtained from Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s wort) or curcumin from Curcuma longa (tumeric) as photosensitizing molecules.
Are there additional applications of PDI?
Yes, our laboratory is specialized on Photodynamic Inactivation of microorganisms on foodstuff. PDI based on natural photosensitizers such as curcumin (approved as food additive E100) are ideally suited for maintaing high food safety levels.