NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 03- II B3.05-8425
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Biomedical R&D of Noninvasive, Unobtrusive Medical Devices for Future Flight Crews
PROPOSAL TITLE: On-Demand Urine Analyzer

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Frank E. Inscore
87 Church Street
East Hartford, CT 06108-3728
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

The overall goal of this program (through Phase III) is to develop an analyzer that can be integrated into International Space Station (ISS) toilets to measure key chemicals in urine. The analyzer will employ a novel metal-doped sol-gel material to both separate these key chemicals from urine and provide surface-enhanced Raman spectra to identify and quantify these chemicals. The Phase I program successfully demonstrated feasibility by chemically extracting 3-methyl histidine, a muscle-loss indicator, and raloxifene a bone-loss inhibitor from simulated urine. In flowing experiments, both chemicals were measured at 10 nanogram/mL, below the required detection limit of 1000 ng/mL for 3-methyl histidine, and near the required detection limit of 1 ng/mL for raloxifene. The Phase II program will develop the method of analysis using some 50 bio-indicators, drugs and metabolites, and potential interfering urine components. The program will also design and build an automated extraction, measurement and analysis system suitable for integration into Hamilton Sundstrand's proposed ISS toilets. Hamilton Sundstrand has agreed to an on-site demonstration that includes initial measurements using the proposed analyzer and their equipment to initiate a Phase III collaboration.

The proposed analyzer will have immediate use in the detection and treatment of Osteoporosis. According to the World Health Organization osteoporosis is the second largest medical problem, after cardiovascular diseases, and it currently affects 10 million men and women in the USA. Recent research has shown that biomarkers in urine can not only quantify bone-loss rates, but also measure effectiveness of new drugs being used to arrest this process. The proposed analyzer will be used to measure these indicators, as well as the drugs and ultimately help prevent fractures.

The proposed urine analyzer will immediately aid astronauts working in the International Space Station by monitoring bone and muscle loss. Its use will also undoubtedly increase our understanding of the adverse effects of near-zero gravity, allow determining the effectiveness of drugs used for treatment, and improve regulating dosage. The analyzer will have continued value through the life of the ISS and into the future development of a moon base.
Finally, the knowledge gained will be critical to developing a strategy to travel to Mars safely. The proposed analyzer will leverage existing NASA technology (HS' equipment), representing reduced cost and risk.