Health, Medicine, & Biotechnology

Fluid Preservation System (FPS)

This system can be used by first responders during natural disasters. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Biological samples contain labile molecules that deteriorate rapidly ex-vivo. Terrestrially, biological samples are preserved either by freezing them (–80 °C) or by including preservation chemicals. While chemical preservation may be ideal for certain molecules, their functionality is selective and can, while preserving one set of molecules, damage others. Refrigeration poses major logistical challenges of power and logistics. These two options pose major cost and logistics burdens to NASA as they continue to collect biological specimens during flight. Although the International Space Station (ISS) includes a refrigerator to preserve samples, there are no such capabilities aboard return vehicles, especially unmanned vehicles. Furthermore, it should be noted that payloads that are dropped off in remote locations often are recovered after many days, making the biological samples extremely vulnerable to ambient conditions, often rendering them useless.

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Using Electromagnetic Time-Variance Magnetic Fields to Generate and Re-Grow Cartilage

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Adevice provides electromagnetic pulses at a predetermined frequency that will result in cartilage cell regeneration and regrowth for patients with arthritis, which reduces or eliminates joint cartilage. The device can be wrapped around the joints in a patient where infected cartilage is located. Molecular and marker data have shown this innovation to work as described above. This is a non-invasive technology that regenerates the patient’s own tissue, allowing for possibly no significant side-effects or foreign matter reactivity.

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Computer-Aided Design Tools to Support Human Factors Design Teams

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama The purpose of this work was to develop a database of human model behavior primitives, which are basic scripts that can be chained together to create simulations of humans performing certain tasks. This is unique in that the human model behaviors were collected using motion capture technology and then incorporated into virtual simulation software. Typically, human model behaviors are created based on the subjective observations of the analyst rather than by using realistic motion data. Limitations of this approach include less reliable human models and a more time-consuming process for creating the human model in the virtual environment.

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Advanced-Capabilities Medical Suction Device

This technology presents a means to cleanly contain bodily fluids in environments ranging from microgravity to Earth gravity with no release of infectious agents. John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio NASA has long recognized the difficulty in providing emergency medical care to astronauts in space. Many aspects of space travel make medical care inherently difficult, and sufficient storage space for medical equipment severely limits the ability to carry a full complement of diagnostic and therapeutic equipment onboard. The Microgravity Compatible Medical Suction Device (MCMSD) enables aspiration and containment of bodily fluids and vomitus, while preventing the transmission of infectious agents.

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Use of Osteoclast-Inhibiting Compounds to Prevent Radiation-Induced Bone Loss

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas This technology features a method for preventing or treating radiation-associated loss of bone mass, bone density, or bone strength in a subject. This technology involves administering to the subject an amount of anti-resorptive or osteoclast-inhibiting compound sufficient to prevent or mitigate loss of bone mass, density, or strength caused by radiation-associated increases in the number or activity of osteoclasts.

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Polymerase Chain Reaction Preparation Kit and Self-Enclosed, Pipette-Free DNA/RNA Isolation Device

Other applications include situations involving the military and in cases where one has to perform PCR analysis in the field. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas The ability to monitor and detect microorganism contamination/infection is important for long space voyages, in order to maintain a clean environment not only for the health of the astronauts, but also for electronics and structural materials. Technologies based upon the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method have proven to be faster and more sensitive than traditional methods in diagnosis of microorganisms. The real-time PCR technique has been used on the ground to detect microorganisms in the samples collected on the International Space Station (ISS). However, the ability of using PCR to detect infectious agents rapidly and specifically in space is currently unavailable. The major technological blockade to the use of PCR in space is the lack of a hazard-free and microgravity compatible hardware for RNA/DNA isolation.

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Hydrostatic Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Chamber

This system allows treatment of patients in remote locations. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas A hyperbaric chamber has been designed to achieve the goals of maximizing safety, minimizing complexity, and minimizing cost of hyperbaric chamber therapy. This design minimizes the volume of compressed gas in the chamber, and eliminates the need for complex gas mixing, carbon dioxide scrubbing, thermal management, and fire suppression systems. The simple pressurization system affords safe operation by minimally trained personnel. It requires only clean water and small volumes of compressed oxygen, and uses no electrical power. These features allow the chamber to be used in remote, undeveloped locations where hyperbaric oxygen therapy is currently not feasible.

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