LumiThera: Preventing Vision Loss With No Drugs
By Jutta Schulze.
LumiThera, Inc., a leading company in the area of photobiomodulation, has developed a medical device which uses non-invasive low-light therapy to treat vision-related diseases. While light therapy has been effectively used in sport’s therapy, CEO Clark Tedford explains that the company’s developments focus on preventing vision loss that affects especially elderly people.
A common reason for impaired vision at older age is that the retina becomes less flexible, thus causing problems such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy, among others. The special, selected wavelengths of the light stimulate the mitochondria, which are responsible for a cell’s metabolism. By improving the cell’s performance, many patients are able to improve their vision.
In the United States alone, approximately 11 million people suffer from impaired vision, and numbers are expected to double by 2020. Laser therapy is a promising alternative to the general recommendations made by doctors, such as to take vitamins and “live a healthy life.” Tedford assumes that the market will expand to some 300 million patients over the next 20 years, whose medical needs in terms of vision-related diseases are currently unmet.
The LT-300 Ophthalmologic LED Device is currently awaiting approval by Canadian authorities as well as under clinical trial in Europe before it will be launched on the US market. “We hope to be here [in the United States] in about two years,” Tedford says. “This is an area that is very large in terms of the commercial potential,” he adds. The device could be a “mainstay in the doctor’s office, so it could treat other injury to the eye, other retinal diseases,” which makes it a highly attractive opportunity for investment not only for pharmaceutical companies.
Tedford, who is a neuropharmacologist by training, has worked in the field of age-related diseases for years, investigating Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, along with vision-related pathologies, before he started considering new technologies in medical devices as an alternative in terms of non-invasive and cost-effective solutions for patients suffering from vision loss.
The technique is extremely safe, involves no drug treatment, and focuses on prevention to stop the progression of the disease. It has been used successfully in other areas of medicine for years. The treatment, Tedford adds, can have “a huge impact in terms of quality of life” for patients all over the world.
LumiThera expects to begin to roll out trials in Europe in the first quarter next year, in anticipation of earning their CE Mark, which opens up the entire EU for marketing and speeds the way for US FDA approval.
Disclosures: The author, Jutta Schulze, holds no interest in any of the securities or entities mentioned above. She has not received compensation for this article, other than from Small Cap Nation. The statements above do not constitute recommendations. The article has been based on publicly available information, and seeks to be unbiased and non-promotional.