NASA and DNA Medicine Institute (DMI) with funding from NASA’s SBIR program has produced a reusable microfluidic device capable of doing rapid low-cost cell counts to measure electrolytes, proteins, and other biomarkers.
The device was developed to monitor astronaut health on the International Space Station during long term space flights and provide terrestrial applications, but the device also has the capability to do point-care diagnostics at a patient’s bedside, or in a doctor’s office, or hospital.
The device referred to as a “reusable Handheld Electrolyte and Lab Technology for Humans” (rHEALTH) is a compact portable device that uses cutting-edge fluorescence detection optics, innovative microfluidics, and nanostrip reagents to perform a suite of hematology, chemistry, and biomarker assays from a single drop of blood or body fluid. Potential applications include biomedical research, POC diagnostics, and health monitoring in clinical settings.
The device enables:
· The efficient flow-based detection technology to allow a range of samples to be counted, analyzed, and measured
· The use of reusable microfluidics means that device mass and volume is reduced and a handheld portable device could be used
· Space medicine, biomedical research, and environmental monitoring to be addressed
· The device to be used in a low-gravity environment characterized by radiation, low humidity, and lack of refrigeration
DNI plans to commercialize the rHEALTH sensor and is working to form a partnership with a diagnostics firm. For more information, contact the Office of Technology Partnerships and Planning, at the NASA Glen Research Center at 216-433-3484 or email TTP@grc.nasa.gov.