NASA’s Human Research Program (HRP) has identified a need for state-of-the-art pharmaceuticals packaging to enable long-duration human exploration missions. NanoSonic is a small, advanced materials company that specializes in gas/moisture impermeable membranes and both space radiation shielding and durable materials. In this program, innovative packaging for long-term medication storage shall be developed in support of HRP’s Research Operations and Integration (ROI) initiative for all human crewed spacecraft or pre-deployed human missions. NanoSonic shall specifically develop new graded atomic number (Z) radiation shielding packaging layers for use within our impermeable polymer membranes lined with oxygen, moisture, and CO2 scavenging constituents for testing alongside Aclar® and Mylar® foil-based industry standards. The new packaging materials shall be developed for a radiation study conducted by the PI at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL). The materials shall be evaluated for predicted lifetime via dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) and time-temperature-superposition (TTS) studies in moisture, oxygen, and CO2 environments. During Phase I, we shall repackage medication to retain its active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and offers lifetime improvements over the current 59 - 82% median drug failure for 2–3-year missions. The new packaging material shall be based on NanoSonic’s graded-Z Thoraeus Rubber radiation shielding design and implemented within low gas and moisture polymer membrane barriers suitable for lining with oxygen scavenging particles, such as the metal organic frameworks (MOF). The packages would be purged with inert gas for deployment. NanoSonic shall conduct one round of radiation exposure to assess initial lifetime predictive mechanical and sealing behavior as functions of moisture, oxygen, and radiation pre- and post- radiation exposure.
Potential NASA applications for the pharmaceutical packaging include technology development that benefits the Exploration Medical Capability Element (ExMC) of the NASA Human Research Program (HRP). Pharmaceutical repackaging technologies developed herein shall address risks of ineffective or toxic medications during long-duration exploration spaceflight and adverse health outcomes and decrements in performance due to inflight medical conditions.
The new packaging shall address current HRP Gaps including: a) optimal packaging/storage for medications in space that mitigates toxicity, preserves effectiveness, and minimizes resource costs. The API degradation profiles shall be characterized in a radiation exposure study to understand safety and effectiveness for exploration missions.