Health, Medicine, and Biotechnology
NASA's portfolio of health, medical, and biotechnology is a testament to the Agency's innovation. From developing advanced materials for use in space suits to creating innovative medical devices and treatments, NASA has a long history of advancing the field of health and medicine. In this portfolio, you will find a diverse range of patents that have been developed by NASA scientists and engineers that can enable new healthcare technologies.
Noninvasive Therapy for Cartilage Regeneration
Research has shown that exposure of mammalian cartilage and bone tissue to tuned magnetic fields modifies genetic regulation at a cellular level. PEMF therapy relies on modulation and resonance of weak metals (ions) such as Ca2+, K+, Li+, and Mg2+ which can be made to move at the sub-cellular level when exposed to magnetic flux. This NASA technology is a device and method for modifying genetic regulation of cartilage and bone in response to PEMF therapy and may serve as the basis for development of novel therapies for cartilage diseases. In initial studies, cultured human chondrocyte cells (HCH) from patients with early-stage osteoarthritis were exposed to PEMF stimulation using a variety of tuned electro-magnetic pulse characteristics such as flux magnitude, slew rates, rise and fall times, frequency, wavelength, and duty cycle. Waveforms used in testing were monophasic, bi-phasic, square, sinusoidal, and triangular in nature. Frequencies were generally low, ranging from 6-500 Hz, and the waveforms used high rising and falling slew rates on the order of Tesla/sec, promoting pulses or bursts. Cellular catabolic and anabolic gene expression analyses comprised of fold-change (in expression) were accomplished by a survey of 47,000 human genes using an AFFYMETRIX Gene Array. Results show that variation of waveform used in PEMF therapies, independent of flux intensity, influences genetic regulation of HCH from patients with early-stage osteoarthritis. Please note that NASA does not manufacture products itself for commercial sale.
Non-invasive Intracranial Pressure Measurement
This technology and a product based on it offer new analytical capabilities for assessment of intracranial dynamics. It offers the possibility for the monitoring of transcranial expansion and related physiological phenomena in humans resulting from variations in intracranial pressure (ICP) caused by injuries to the head and/or brain pathologies. The technology uses constant frequency pulse phase-locked loop (CFPPLL) technology to measure skull expansion caused by pressure and its variations in time. This approach yields a more accurate, more robust measurement capability with improved bandwidth that allows new analytical approaches for assessing the physiology of skull expansion under pulsatile cerebral blood flow. The dynamical quantities assessable with the CFPPLL include skull volume expansion and total fluid. Such an instrument can serve to measure intracranial dynamics with equation based algorithms, and offers a path to measure or determine quasistatic intracranial pressure, along with the pulsatile related intracranial pressure increments. Supportive measurements, such as time dependence of arterial pressure waveforms together with time dependent phase change of transcranial expansions can serve as the basis of noninvasive techniques to measure intracranial pressure.