Medical and surgical applications of space biosensor technology.
NASA-Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000, USA.
Researchers in space life sciences are rapidly approaching a technology impasse. Many of the critical questions on the impact of spaceflight on living systems simply cannot be answered with the limited available technologies. Research subjects, particularly small animal models like the rat, must be allowed to function relatively untended and unrestrained for long periods to fully reflect the impact of microgravity and spaceflight on their behavior and physiology. These requirements preclude the use of present hard-wired instrumentation techniques and limited data acquisition systems. Implantable sensors and miniaturized biotelemetry are the only means of capturing the fundamental and critical data. This same biosensor and biotelemetry technology has direct application to Earth-based medicine and surgery. Continuous, on-line data acquisition and improved measurement capabilities combined with the ease and flexibility offered by automated, wireless, and portable instruments and data systems, should provide a boon to the health care industry. Playing a key role in this technology revolution is the Sensors 2000! (S2K!) Program at NASA Ames Research Center. S2K!, in collaboration with space life sciences researchers and managers, provides an integrated capability for sensor technology development and applications, including advanced biosensor technology development, spaceflight hardware development, and technology transfer and commercialization."
Now think again about what he said about the collaboration: "We believe that Nanogen possesses a unique technology capable of facilitating our efforts in two main areas: the analysis of certain SNPs and STRs to monitor the health and well-being of astronauts and other NASA personnel; and the functionalization of carbon nanotubes for biosensor applications."