Health, Medicine, & Biotechnology

Reagent and Method of Using a Microfluidic Cytometer for Leukocyte Differential Count

The requirement for dilution is completely eliminated by specifically staining leukocytes.

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

Leukocytes respond to toxic, infectious, and inflammatory processes to defend tissues and eliminate disease process or toxic challenge. Accurate and prompt counting and differentiation of leukocytes is critical for diagnoses of infection, leukemia, or allergy; monitoring bone marrow function; or monitoring the body’s response to various treatments. White blood cell (WBC), or leukocyte, differential count is a clinical analysis that numerates the total number of leukocytes in per volume blood, and classifies leukocytes into different types, such as lymphocytes, monocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Medical, Medical, health, and wellness
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Intravehicular Tissue Equivalent Proportional Counter (TEPC) Flight Software

TEPC is used to make operational radiation protection decisions.

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

The ISS (International Space Station) Medical Operations Requirements Document (MORD) establishes the medical support requirements for ionizing radiation exposure, including common dose limits, radiation monitoring, recordkeeping, and management of radiation exposure through As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) practices through all mission phases. The dynamic, complex, and unique nature of the radiation environment in low Earth orbit is such that radiation health and protection requirements rely upon analytical modeling and continuous measurements of the onboard environment, as well as personal dosimetry that includes analytical assessments of passive dosimeters worn at all times by each crewmember. External radiation detection instruments are necessary to provide near-real-time information about the dynamic radiation environment experienced by crewmembers during EVA (extravehicular activity). Active radiation area monitoring on ISS is necessary to provide continuous information to ground controllers and to the crewmembers for the purpose of maintaining crew exposures below limits and in accordance with ALARA practices.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Computer software and hardware, Medical, health, and wellness, Spacecraft
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Wet Waste Drying Bag

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

This invention facilitates collection, storage, concentration, and drying of liquid or mixed liquid/solid waste material. The invention may serve as a portable toilet or may be used to dry biological specimens or concentrate water samples for analysis. It can replace diapers, special plastic bags, and airflow waste disposal systems used in space missions. The resulting products are clean, but not potable, water and dried, compacted, bagged material that may be human waste or other matter. The bag simplifies collection and reduces disposal cost.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Waste management, Medical, health, and wellness, Spacecraft
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Combinatorial Multidomain Mesoporous Chips for Fractionation of Biomolecules

The chips can operate with extraordinary rapidity without sample pre-processing.

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

A promising strategy of early diagnosis is the detection of biological signatures (molecular biomarkers) from readily available body fluids, such as blood. However, the onset of most human diseases cannot be univocally identified on the basis of a single biomarker. Considerable attention has been devoted to the development of proteomic methods for the quantitative and simultaneous detection and identification of “signature profiles” constituted by multiple protein and peptide biomarkers using mass spectrometry (MS). A critical aspect of the development of MS-based proteomics and peptidomics is the extraordinarily broad assortment of molecular species in blood, with concentrations ranging over more than ten orders of magnitude. This dynamic complexity limits the detection of disease-related peptides present in trace amounts within a large background of very abundant and non-relevant proteins.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Medical, health, and wellness, Diagnostics, Test equipment and instrumentation
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Intranasal Scopolamine — INSCOP

This drug, in intranasal form, is an effective treatment for motion sickness.

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

Space motion sickness (SMS) commonly experienced by astronauts during a space mission often requires treatment with medication. However, exposure to a microgravity environment results in a myriad of physiological changes that alter bioavailability. In particular, studies indicate that the bioavailability of oral scopolamine (SCOP) is decreased during spaceflight. Although altered gastrointestinal function, including delayed gastric emptying, appears to contribute to decreased bioavailability of oral medications, other factors typical of spaceflight may influence the pharmacokinetics of medications administered via a variety of other non-parenteral routes.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical, Medical, health, and wellness
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Microbial Isolates from Research Activities as a Biological Resource

A collection of 1,530 individual isolates is used to evaluate the potential hazard of introducing sterilization-resistant microorganisms onto planetary spacecraft.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

International treaty requires spacecraft landing on planetary surfaces that may have water present, or may have supported life in the past, to adhere to strict guidelines governing the microbial contaminants that are incidentally present in, and on, spacecraft hardware introduced to those environments. Precautions to prevent microbial contamination of flight hardware are taken throughout assembly, test, and launch operations to minimize transferring biological contamination to the planet. Effectiveness of these precautions is assessed by conducting bioassays of spacecraft surfaces and assembly areas to estimate the number of microorganisms present. Microorganisms discovered are preserved as a living document and compendium for the mission. The organisms that are of greatest concern are those that are highly resistant to desiccation and spacecraft sterilization by dry heat.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Biological sciences, Spacecraft
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Chromatid Painting for Chromosomal Inversion Detection

Applications include clinical cytogenetics, biomedical research, and biodosimetry.

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

Chromosomal inversions, such as those occurring following exposure to ionizing radiation, are especially difficult to detect by current techniques. Therefore, their true frequency and importance have been underappreciated. Even the impressive technology of whole genome sequencing, which is becoming more readily and rapidly available, is useless for the detection of many chromosomal rearrangements within a chromosome. Likewise, stateof- the-art cytogenetic mBAND analysis of irradiated normal human tissue can only occasionally reveal radiationinduced inversions. A novel and innovative approach called differential Genomic Hybridization (dGH) or chromatid painting has been developed to further explore, expand, and capitalize on this new frontier of molecular cytogenetics.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Medical, health, and wellness, Research and development
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Guidelines for Meal Replacement Bars in a Space Food System

Emergency relief organizations, food banks, the military, and food service markets all have use for the bars due to their nutritional offering and long shelf life.

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

To decrease the mass of the space food system and still maintain the nutritional intake of a mission crew, meal replacement bars and beverages are desired to supplement the menu and serve as meal alternatives. Nutritional requirements for such replacement products for breakfast and lunch have been established based on the current nutritional delivery of the International Space Station standard menu.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Human factors, Medical, health, and wellness
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Retinal Light Processing Using Carbon Nanotubes

This chip can be used as an electrical or optical sensor for the retina.

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

NASA has patented a new technology called the Vision Chip, an implantable device that has the potential to restore or supplement visual function in a diseased or damaged retina. This technology could benefit millions of people in the US and globally who suffer from degenerative diseases of the eye’s retina such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), retinitis pigmentosa (RP), and, in some cases, diabetic retinopathy. The Vision Chip is targeted to treat AMD and other degenerative diseases of the retina by replacing a compromised retinal photoreceptor system with an array of equivalent external photoreceptors and carbon nanotube (CNT) “towers” (bundles of CNTs) that provide a pathway to transmit signals from the external photoreceptors to an active layer of retina.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Optics, Medical, health, and wellness, Nanomaterials
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Provision of Carbon Nanotube Buckypaper Cages for Immune Shielding of Cells, Tissues, and Medical Devices

This method may prevent the rejection of transplanted cells and tissue.

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

NASA has patented a new technology that may prevent the rejection of transplanted cells and tissues. The human immune system identifies and rejects non-host cells and tissues with high efficiency. The new invention involves the fabrication and use of carbon nanotube buckypaper (CNTBP) “cages” for immune shielding. This approach promotes and supports a variety of useful biological processes that are difficult or impossible when cells or tissue are maintained in culture outside the body. It allows for the transplantation of cells or tissues from unrelated donors or from unrelated species (xenografts) into host subjects with dramatically reduced potential for rejection and/or the use of immunosuppressive therapies, which can be highly toxic. Current strategies for islet cell transplantation, for example, have shown marginal success due to limited graft survival, even with immunosuppressive therapy.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Medical, health, and wellness, Nanomaterials
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