Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is associated with a large number of gastroduodenal disorders. Clearance of the bacteria has been shown to benefit patients with duodenal ulcers, gastric ulcers, and certain rare types of gastric tumors. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are the mainstay of current treatment strategies but side-effects, poor compliance, and drug resistance limit their usefulness. We sensitized H. pylori with toluidine blue, haematoporphyrin derivative, aluminum disulphonated phthalocyanine, methylene blue or protoporphyrin IX prior to exposure to low-power laser light from either a gallium aluminum arsenide laser or a helium neon gas laser. All 5 sensitizers caused reductions of greater than 1000-fold in the number of viable bacteria. Light alone had no effect and only HpD caused a significant decrease in bacterial numbers without laser light. Next, we sensitized H. mustelae on explanted ferret gastric mucosa (ex vivo) with the same sensitizers and exposed them to light from a copper vapor pumped dye laser tuned appropriately. MB caused significant reductions in bacterial counts. Successful lethal photosensitization of Helicobacter pylori both in vitro and ex vivo raises the possibility of a local method for eradicating the bacteria, especially as the bacteria are only found in those parts of the upper gastrointestinal tract that are accessible to the endoscope.