The Cellular Regenerator or Dermal Regenerator is a device on Star Trek capable of speeding up the healing process of living tissue by using light. A lot of the technology we now take for granted was actually inspired by Star Trek. And when i first saw the dermal regenerator on Star Trek i thought that this doesn’t seem too far fetched. Turns out I was quite right. Fittingly It’s a technology developed by NASA that is now being adapted to do just that. Now it might only be a matter of time before every hospital has one, heck maybe even every household.
The need to care for a population with chronic wounds is a growing challenge that requires innovative approaches. Two approaches that specifically address the identified pathophysiological processes involved in wound healing are hyperbaric oxygen therapy and light therapy.
Light Emitting Diodes (LED-technology), originally developed for NASA plant growth experiments in space, show promise for delivering light deep into tissues of the body to promote wound healing and human tissue growth. In this paper we review and present our new data of LED treatment on cells grown in culture, on ischemic and diabetic wounds in rat models, and on acute and chronic wounds in humans. Results include: in vitro increases of cell growth of 140-200% in mouse derived fibroblasts, rat derived osteoblasts, and rat derived skeletal muscle. Increases in growth of 155% -171% of normal human epithelial cells in vitro. Wound size decreases of up to 36% in conjunction with HBO in ischemic rat models. Improvement of greater than 40% in musculoskeletal training injuries in Navy SEAL team members. Decreased wound healing time by 50% of crew members aboard a U.S. Naval submarine. And finally, up to a 47% reduction in pain of children suffering from oral mucositis. We believe that the use of NASA Light-Emitting Diodes (LED) for light therapy will greatly enhance the natural wound healing process. This work is supported and managed through the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center – SBIR Program.