Health, Medicine, & Biotechnology

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Rapid Polymer Sequencer

Maximum resolution will be improved at least 100-fold compared to biological ion-channel measurements. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Solid-state, nanopore-based analysis of nucleic acid polymers is the only technique that can determine information content in single molecules of genetic material at the speed of 1 subunit per microsecond. Because individual molecules are counted, the output is intrinsically quantitative. The nanopore approach is more generalized than any other method, and in principle may be used to analyze any polymer molecule, including proteins. The approach to the development of a solid-state nanopore device is novel in the use of nanofabrication, nanoelectric components, and high-speed signal acquisition.

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