NASA Story

The Science and Technology of Biophotonics

At the end of the last century, research scientists and physicians in conjunction with NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center began investigating the impact of microgravity and hypergravity on human and plant cell growth. Concerned for astronauts who might be injured or become ill in long-term space flight, NASA studies determined that gravity is necessary for normal human cell growth, noting that "wounds heal less effectively in space than here on earth."

In response to this significant health risk, NASA developed LED (light emitting diodes) technology that showed great promise for delivering light deep into tissues of the body to promote wound healing and human tissue growth. "NASA's LED device stimulates the basic energy processes in the mitochondria (energy producing compartments) of each cell, particularly when near-infrared light is used to activate color sensitive chemicals (chromospheres, cytochrome systems) inside the cell." In addition, NASA reported that DNA synthesis in fibroblasts and muscle cells quadrupled when exposed to LED light. Based on these findings, NASA observed that this type of improved wound healing may have multiple applications which benefit civilian medical care, military situations and long-term space flight.

Technology developed by NASA using light emitting diodes (LED) has been scientifically proven by many recent clinical trials to re-regulate cellular function in the treatment of many common conditions, restoring the body's natural ability to heal itself. Contrasted to many widely accepted therapies where vital tissue is intentionally damaged to create a healing response, using LED light to "re-energize" cellular function in a non-invasive manner allows the body to maintain vitality as nature intended. "LED reacts with cytochromes in the body," explains Dr. Harry Whelan, professor of pediatric neurology and director of hyperbaric medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. "Cytochromes are the parts of cells that respond to light and color. When cytochromes are activated, their energy levels go up, and that stimulates tissue growth and regeneration."1

For the last five years, BioPhotas, Inc. has developed innovative and technically advanced biophotonic products based on NASA's research. BioPhotonic therapy applies a combination of LED light energy and proprietary photo-modulation technologies to alternatively or adjunctively treat acne, aesthetic, inflammation, muscle and joint pain conditions. BioPhotas' vision is to combine the rapidly growing market opportunity in global healthcare and wellness with the proven science of LED light therapy technology to provide safe, effective, affordable, predictable and convenient solutions to common conditions that lead to the accelerated loss of vitality.


  1. Mitochondrial signal transduction in accelerated wound and retinal healing by near-infrared light therapy

    Janis T. Eells,*, Margaret T.T. Wong-Riley, James VerHoeve, Michele Henry, Ellen V. Buchman, Mary P. Kane, Lisa J. Gould, Rina Das, Marti Jett, Brian D. Hodgson, David Margolis, Harry T. Whelan, Department of Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA. Department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA. Department of Ophthalmology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53201, USA. Department of Ophthalmology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA. Department of Neurology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA. Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, USA. Department of Molecular Pathology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, MD, USA. College of Dentistry, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, USA. Department of Hematology and Oncology, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA