A single-blind, dose-escalation, phase i study of high-fluence light-emitting diode-red light on Caucasian non-Hispanic skin: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Erica B. Wang, Ramanjot Kaur, Julie Nguyen, Derek Ho, Evan Austin, Emanual Maverakis, Chin Shang Li, Samuel T. Hwang, R. Rivkah Isseroff, Jared Jagdeo

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Background: Visible light (400 to 700 nm) is common in our environment, comprising 44% of total solar radiation and a large component of environmental light exposure. The effects of visible light on skin remain undefined. The red light portion of the visible spectrum (600 to 700 nm) may be used to treat skin diseases as a monotherapeutic modality or in combination with other agents. Light-emitting diode-red light (LED-RL) phototherapy may represent an important advance in light-based treatment modalities because it is non-invasive, inexpensive, portable, and easily combinable with other therapies. We previously determined the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of high-fluence LED-RL (HF-LED-RL) in skin of color individuals to be 320 J/cm 2 . To the best of our knowledge, no clinical trials have been performed to determine the safety of higher doses of HF-LED-RL in Caucasian non-Hispanic individuals. The aim of this study is to investigate the safety of HF-LED-RL at doses of 480 and 640 J/cm 2 in healthy Caucasian non-Hispanic individuals. Methods: This is a single-blind, dose-escalation, randomized, controlled, phase I trial titled Safety Trial Assessing Red-light on Skin (STARS) 2. Healthy subjects will be randomly assigned to groups of five (three subjects randomly assigned to HF-LED-RL phototherapy and two subjects randomly assigned to mock therapy). Subjects in group 1 will receive HF-LED-RL or mock irradiation at the starting dose of 480 J/cm 2 , and the dose will be escalated in the subsequent group (group 2) to 640 J/cm 2 . The MTD is defined as the dose level below the dose at which two or more subjects (>20% of the cohort) experience a dose-limiting toxicity (DLT). After either the MTD is established or the study endpoint of 640 J/cm 2 is achieved, additional HF-LED-RL phototherapy subjects and mock therapy subjects will be enrolled at that fluence (group 3) for a total number of up to 60 subjects. Each subject will receive a total of nine irradiation sessions, three times per week for three consecutive weeks. Discussion: This follow-up study aims to provide important knowledge about safety and cutaneous effects of HF-LED-RL phototherapy of 480 and 640 J/cm 2 in Caucasian non-Hispanic subjects. The importance of this clinical trial is that it may establish new treatment paradigms and a safety profile for LED-RL based on race and ethnicity. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03433222. Registered on February 1, 2018 - Retrospectively registered. Protocol date and version: January 12, 2018; version 1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number177
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 20 2019


  • Dose escalation
  • High fluence
  • Light-emitting diode-red light
  • Phase I
  • Phototherapy
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Safety
  • Study protocol
  • Visible red light

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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