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Center Innovation Fund: JSC CIF

Microgravity Cell Counter: A Simple Hand-held Low-cost Device for In-flight WBC/Differential

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The ability to monitor hematology parameters during spaceflight is currently an unmet medical requirement (NASA-STD-3001). This project evaluated a DNA stain/CCD camera based technology to provide a White Blood Cell count + differential (granulocytes, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, basophils) analysis during microgravity conditions.

Spaceflight results in adverse health effects on the human body.   These effects may result in increased clinical risk to crewmembers participating in exploration-class deep-space missions.  For clinical monitoring of astronauts and for in-flight biomedical research, laboratory instruments must be designed which function in the spaceflight environment.    Currently there is no instrument capable of generating a white blood cell (WBC) count and differential during spaceflight, even though this is an existing National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) medical requirement.  We evaluated a new commercial analyzer in the context of spaceflight requirements and compatibility with the zero gravity environment.  Reduced gravity analysis was performed during terrestrial parabolic flight. The analyzer was found to uniquely meet the basic requirements for spaceflight and should be appropriate for measuring WBC parameters onboard the International Space Station.  

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.

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