Biomarker-Detection Technologies for Comprehensive Medical Diagnosis During Deep-Space Missions
Tore Straume, David J. Loftus, Jing Li, Matthew A. Coleman, Cristina E. Davis, Kathleen A. McMonigal, Matthew Piccini and Anup K. Singh
Affiliation: MS236-7, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA.
Keywords: Analyte, Biomarker, Blood, Breath, Compact technology, Human space exploration, In-flight medical capability,
Mars mission, Minimally invasive, Non-invasive, Saliva, Smart phone, Wireless.
Human deep-space missions to Mars and beyond will require development of a compact device that can
provide comprehensive in-flight medical diagnostic capability to support the health of astronauts. Key features should
include the ability to handle multiple sample types (blood, saliva, breath), and the ability to measure virtually any
biomarker, including future biomarkers that may emerge. Here we identify compatible technologies and their associated
patents that can be integrated to create such a device, to provide essential hematology information (blood cell counts,
white cell differential) and to detect proteins and other biomolecules needed to assess spaceflight medical conditions. The
ability to analyze breath and saliva specimens is a priority. These specimens are fully non-invasive hence no risk is
associated with sampling and can provide rapid health assessment information that could be critical for urgent medical
issues that may arise during EVA, prior to removal of the spacesuit. In addition to space applications, the device we
envision would have applications for health care on Earth, in the military, in developing countries, and other settings with
limited access to conventional medical resources.
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