Katie's first photodynamic treatment doubled her period of remission from six months to a year. The second treatment gave her a 3.5-year remission before the cancer reappeared. And, her treatment in May 1999 has so far left her cancer-free. There is no evidence of cancer at the sites that previously were found to be cancerous.

Is Katie Cured?

There is definite cause for optimism, but, as in all cancer treatments, Katie must be cancer free for at least five years to be considered "cured." While she lives for that anniversary, the new treatment procedure continues to play a major role in beating back the cancer that threatened her life so aggressively before.

A Partnership for Life

The photodynamic therapy that is helping Katie, and that has been used on more than 300 other patients since 1996, evolved from a partnership between Quantum Devices and the Wisconsin Center for Space Automation and Robotics, a NASA-sponsored Commercial Space Center. Currently, the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, Small Business Innovation Research program, is sponsoring this LED research program.




The original goal of the collaboration was to develop technology to foster plant growth in closed environment systems during micro-gravity space-flight research. The serendipitous result of this effort was an effective, life-saving treatment against several kinds of cancer, including skin cancer, throat cancer, brain cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, and some gastro-intestinal cancers.

Further research promises other medical applications of this new light source and LEDs. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved the LED unit and the photosensitive drug Photofrin (patented by QuadraLogic Technologies) as a combined therapy. Other types of light sensitive drugs are also in the FDA clinical trial stage.

More Medical Progress From Space

Photodynamic therapy is just one of the great stories coming from NASA's medical partnerships and technological spin-offs. Consider the following advances in breast tumor detection, as well as heart disease detection and treatment.


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