Light-emitting diode (LED) chips used to grow plants in space are now being used on Earth for healing wounds and treating chronic pain and cancer. In 1993, Quantum Devices Inc. (QDI) of Barneveld, WI, began developing technology to create high-intensity, solid-state LED systems for NASA’s space shuttle plant growth experiments. The company found that red LED wavelengths could boost the energy metabolism of cells to advance plant growth.
QDI, through NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants, focused on using the diodes in medical applications, particularly in accelerating the healing of astronauts’ wounds in microgravity. The red LEDs also are capable of activating light-sensitive, tumor-treating drugs, that when injected intravenously, could destroy cancer cells while leaving surrounding tissue untouched.
Further grants from NASA have helped QDI develop the WARP 10 (Warfighter Accelerated Recovery by Photobiomodulation), a handheld LED unit intended for the temporary relief of minor muscle and joint pain, arthritis, stiffness, and muscle spasms, as well as for increasing blood circulation. The unit does not require intravenous medicine, and is placed directly on the skin where treatment is needed.
Although designed for armed forces as first-aid care in the field, the WARP 10 has received FDA approval for consumer use with the same power and properties. It provides an alternative to the cost and complications involved with use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief.
For more information, visit http://info.ims.ca/5658-121.