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PhotoPill Medical is harnessing the power of Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT) to assist patients suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). PhotoPill is developing a smart electronic disposable capsule that will act as a vehicle to effectively and safely deliver LLLT treatment directly to the intestine inner walls to reduce flare-ups by healing ulcerations and inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. The capsule can be easily swallowed, it is disposable and it is safe for daily use.

PhotoPill Medical is a start-up company, motivated by the need of IBD patients and the challenges they are facing on daily basis.

About the company

PhotoPill Medical was founded in 2010 by Sharon Ben-Yehuda, who was very eager to find a way to assist IBD patients and reduce the significant pain and difficulties associated with disease flare-ups, as well as the stress associated with the constant question – “is this the beginning of a flare-up?”.

For the past several years, introduction of biologic medications for IBD, improved the efficacy of treatment and prolonged time between flare-ups, but the down side of these, and other available medications for IBD, are the side effects. These side effects can sometimes be very significant up to a point where the patient prefers the risk of suffering through a flare-up, rather than deal with short and long effects of medications.



Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a set of chronic diseases characterized by intense inflammatory process and ulcerations involving the intestine mucosa.   It is estimated that there are over 28 Million IBD patients in the world, of which 11 Million are Crohn’s Disease patients. Currently, there is no cure for IBD and daily use of medications is the gold standard of treatment to prolong remission periods in-between disease outbursts; episodes that are related to sever pains, diarrhea, bloody stool, fatigue, anemia, mouth sores; all may require hospitalization.

The market leading IBD medications are known to have limited efficacy, and significant adverse events due to systemic administration. IBD medications range from 5-ASA anti-inflammatory drugs, to antibiotics, steroids, Immunomodulators and Biologic agents (the newcomer and leading treatment today). Adverse events include: headaches, nausea or hyperglycemia, to severe allergic response, osteoporosis, liver damage, bone marrow suppression and cancer.

To find out more about IBD, use the following links:

About the product

Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT) has been proven as a safe and effective treatment for a verity of conditions, including inflammation, wound healing and tissue rejuvenation. In the last years, LLLT is approved and used for treatment and prevention of many indications, a recent one being researched is Oral Mucositis, a condition of ulcerations/inflammations of the upper GI tract (oral cavity). Various studies conducted with large cohort of patients, demonstrated that LLLT is very effective: “only one intervention proved effective in the treatment of established mu-cositis -LLLT”   J Clin Exp Dent. Feb 2014; 6(1): e74–e80

As LLLT is evident to be effective for improving inflammations and ulcerations, a vehicle is needed to bring the LLLT treatment into the inflamed intestine walls for IBD patients. The PhotoPill capsule is a disposable electronic capsule, which brings therapeutic LLLT protocols into the intestine walls as it travels through the digestive system.

The PhotoPill capsule is an autonomous electronic capsule with LLLT emitters, a battery, specialized optics and a micro-controller with software and control algorithms, which travels through the intestine using the intestine’s natural peristaltic and is able to automatically turn on and off specific LLLT protocols to specific locations within the intestine to improve inflamed tissue associated with IBD.


PhotoPill Medical was founded in 2010 with the main goal in mind – to provide safe and side effect free treatment for IBD patients.


The science

Light therapy goes back to the late 19th century, where it was discovered that external light can have good impact on medical conditions. In fact, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1903 was awarded to Niels Ryberg Finsen “in recognition of his contribution to the treatment of diseases, especially lupus vulgaris, with concentrated light radiation, whereby he has opened a new avenue for medical science”.

Another leap forward was made in the mid 1960’s when lasers become more popular and Dr Endre Mester, back in 1967, wanted to find out if laser might cause cancer. He took some mice, shaved the hair off their backs, divided them into two groups and gave a laser treatment with a low powered ruby laser to one group. They did not get cancer and to his surprise the hair on the treated group grew back more quickly than the untreated group. That was how “laser biostimulation” was first noticed. Since then, Dr. Mester and others treated many patients with lasers and demonstrated success in wound and tissue healing in different parts of the human body. Photobiostimulation is now considered to be a treatment modality with huge potential and many researches are being conducted to demonstrate its efficacy.

The biological mechanism of action, which is thought to be in the root of Photobiostimulation, is described in several publications such as “BIPHASIC DOSE RESPONSE IN LOW LEVEL LIGHT THERAPY – AN UPDATE“ Dose-Response, 9:602–618, 2011 (Copyright © 2011 University of Massachusetts) by Ying-Ying Huang, Sulbha K Sharma, James Carroll and Michael R Hamblin. The mechanism involves a photoreceptor within the mitochondria – Cytochrome c oxidase (Cco) which is proposed to be the primary photoacceptor for the red-NIR light range in mammalian cells. The reception of red-NIR light by Cco triggers a chain of activities which increases ATP synthesis (Passarella et al. 1984), increased RNA and protein synthesis (Greco et al. 1989) and increases in oxygen consumption, mitochondrial membrane potential, and enhanced synthesis of NADH and ATP.  Other publications described the influence LLLT has on certain cytokines, and recent publications demonstrated the positive effect LLLT has on Oral Mucositis where LLLT has significantly reduced the incidence, duration and severity of Chemotherapy-induced Oral Mucositis.

A mice study, was conducted in Tel Aviv medical center, and demonstrated a significant improvement with subjects treated by LLLT compared to a sham group.

LLLT mice study abstract
Additional information about LLLT


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