Health, Medicine, & Biotechnology

Functionalized Patterning of Tissue Engineering Substrates

Task also includes bioprinting cell-laden constructs for multi-compartment tissue chambers.

Tissue engineering (TE) is an emerging field for tissue repair and regeneration compared to conventional techniques including autograft and allograft, through engineering functional implants created from living cells. TE is a highly interdisciplinary research area where material science, engineering, and biology are blended to achieve tissue regeneration. Efforts have been made to regenerate liver, skin, bone, and vascular tissues by applying a tissue engineering approach. To generate any type of tissue in a laboratory environment, scientists need to mimic the cellular microenvironment by offering structural, chemical, physical, and biological cues to the cells. Introduction of these cues to the cellular environment starts with manufacturing a supportive matrix called a scaffold.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Medical, Biological sciences, Prostheses and implants, Additive manufacturing, Fabrication

Hearing Test System Suitable for Self-Administered Hearing Assessment

Astronauts have developed hearing loss in space, so the goal of this project was to provide a robust, self-administered, accurate noise-tolerance hearing test system for astronauts. The device includes Bekesy-like threshold audiometry, distortion product otoacoustic emission testing, and gap-detection testing.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Medical, Human factors, Noise measurement, Noise measurement, Test equipment and instrumentation, Spacecraft

Assessment of Microbial Bioburden Within Aerogel Matrices

A post-capture aerogel degradation via cryogenic grinding is compatible with downstream nucleic-acid-based molecular modes of analysis.

A makeshift apparatus has been designed composed of a sealed, hydrophobic 2-propanol/SiO2 aerogel component to filter outside air particles. Following verification and assessment, the apparatus was crafted with a Buchner funnel. Aerogel matrices were tightly fitted into filter housings and secured in side-arm flasks, which were then equipped to a vacuum pump to pull air through the aerogel matrices. Aerogels, both with and without fiberglass reinforcement, were used to collect airborne particulates for one- and three-hour increments. An untreated negative control aerogel, employing air collection from a laminar hood, and a positive aerogel matrix were seeded with endospores that verified the extraction from the matrices.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Medical, Bacteria

Universal Cell-Directed Nanotheranostics

A modified stem cell includes a micro or nano particle-based delivery system.

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

The present invention relates to the field of nanotechnology and, more particularly, to the field of delivery of active agents such as therapeutic and/or imaging agents using micro/nanoscale particles. Porous particles, such as porous silicon particles and porous silica particles, have a number of applications including use as drug delivery carriers. A need exists to develop new types of porous particles and new methods of using them for the treatment of diseases such as cancer.

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

Fluid Preservation System (FPS)

This system can be used by first responders during natural disasters.

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.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical, Biological sciences, Logistics, Chemicals

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.

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

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.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, CAD / CAM / CAE, CAD, CAM, and CAE, Design processes, Human factors

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.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Medical, health, and wellness, Disaster and emergency management, Emergency management

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.

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

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.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Medical, Medical, health, and wellness, Diagnostics, Test equipment and instrumentation, Spacecraft

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