National Aeronautics and Space Administration Biological Specimen Repository (Repository) - 12.03.13
Science Objectives for Everyone
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Biological Specimen Repository (Repository) is a storage bank that is used to maintain biological specimens over extended periods of time and under well-controlled conditions. This repository supports scientific discovery that contributes to our fundamental knowledge in the area of human physiological changes and adaptation to a microgravity environment and provides unique opportunities to study longitudinal changes in human physiology spanning many missions. Samples from the International Space Station (ISS), including blood and urine, are collected, processed and archived during the preflight, in-flight and postflight phases of ISS missions. This investigation archives biosamples for use as a resource for future space flight related research.
Science Results for Everyone
This bank holds something more precious than money: biological specimens taken from dozens of ISS crew members over extended periods of time, before, during, and after space flight. NASA’s Biological Specimen Repository supports scientific discovery and contributes to greater knowledge of human physiological changes and adaptation to microgravity. Scientists withdraw samples to study changes in the human body spanning many missions. The bank also could enable analysis of currently unknown components or use of as-yet-undeveloped methods. Thirty-three ISS crewmembers have signed on to participate and 23 have already completed all the operational requirements.
OpNom: RepositoryPrincipal Investigator(s)
Johnson Space Center, Human Research Program, Houston, TX, United States
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)Sponsoring Organization
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)Research Benefits
Scientific Discovery, Space ExplorationISS Expedition Duration:
October 2007 - September 2014Expeditions Assigned
16,17,18,19/20,21/22,23/24,25/26,27/28,29/30,31/32,33/34,35/36,37/38,39/40,41/42,43/44Previous ISS Missions
Repository began operations on ISS Expedition 16.
- The International Space Station (ISS) provides a platform to investigate the effects of microgravity on human physiology prior to exploration class missions. The storage of crewmember samples from many different ISS flights in a single repository is a valuable resource, whereby researchers study space flight related physiological changes in humans exposed to a microgravity environment.
- The development of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Biological Specimen Repository allows for the collection, processing, storage, maintenance, and ethical distribution of biosamples to meet goals of scientific and programmatic relevance to the space program. Archiving of the biosamples provides future research opportunities including investigating patterns of physiological changes, analysis of components unknown at this time or analyses performed by new methodologies.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Biological Specimen Repository (Repository) collects, stores and distributes samples to future investigators involved in space flight related human life sciences investigations. Blood samples are collected by venipuncture during the preflight, in-flight and postflight phases of this project. One 4.5 mL plasma tube and one 5 mL serum tube is collected from each participating crewmember during each of the scheduled sessions. These sessions are scheduled once preflight, in-flight on flight days 15, 30, 60, 120 and within two weeks of landing and during two sessions scheduled for three to five days and 30 days following return to Earth.
Void-by-void urine is collected and pooled into a 24-hour pool. Urine is collected during the same session times as scheduled for the blood draws. Biosample collections are coordinated with the existing medical requirements or research activities to minimize the number of needle sticks, urine collections and inconveniences to the crewmember.
All in-flight samples are stored at ultra low temperatures in the ISS Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer (MELFI) to maintain the highest quality and integrity possible. The overall project philosophy is to collect, process and store samples to ensure the widest possible range of analyses can be carried out on samples in the future. .
The development of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Biological Specimen Repository allows for the collection, processing, storage, maintenance, and ethical distribution of biosamples to meet goals of scientific and programmatic relevance to the space program. Archiving of the biosamples provides future research opportunities including investigating patterns of physiological changes, analysis of components unknown at this time or analyses performed by new methodologies.Earth Applications
Advances in space biomedical research often lead to medical advances to better serve terrestrial patients. Future research investigations that can help ensure the health and safety of crewmembers as well as enable exploration class missions, provide significant health benefits to patients on Earth.
All USOS ISS crewmembers are eligible to participate in this protocol. Sample sessions occur on flight days 15 (±5 days), 30, 60, 120, and within two weeks of landing (all ±14 days). Blood collection occurs following an overnight fast. Samples are returned to Earth for storage in the Repository.Operational Protocols
The crewmember draws blood and collects urine samples during the scheduled sessions. The blood samples are processed in the refrigerated centrifuge and then stored in the MELFI. Urine is collected void-by-void for 24 hours and samples are stored in the MELFI. Samples are identified via bar codes and the data are downlinked to Earth.
33 ISS USOS crewmembers have provided Informed Consent to participate in this project. As of May, 2012, 23 ISS crewmembers have completed all the preflight, in-flight and postflight operational requirements.
ISS refrigerated centrifuge used during blood processing of the Repository samples. Image courtesy of NASA, Johnson Space Center.
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Flight hardware used for blood collection of Repository samples. Image courtesy of NASA, Johnson Space Center.
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NASA Image: ISS022E091397 - View of Jeffrey Williams, Expedition 22 Commander, performing blood draw - Nutrition with repository, in the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) Pressurized Module (JPM).
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