ISS Non-invasive Sample Investigation and results Transmission to ground with the Utmost easiness (IN SITU) - 02.21.18

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Crew members on the International Space Station (ISS) are continually monitored for health changes, and as part of these measurements, they have to take saliva samples that are stored and returned to Earth later. The ISS Non-invasive Sample Investigation and results Transmission to ground with the Utmost easiness (IN SITU) bioanalysis is a portable device that can check crew members’ saliva on board, enabling direct real-time analysis. The device’s first uses are to monitor stress levels and appetites among crew members.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Aldo Roda, D.Sc., Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: In Situ Bioanalyzer

Principal Investigator(s)
Aldo Roda, D.Sc., Ph.D., Department of Chemistry “Giacomo Ciamician”, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Mario Benassai, Ph.D., ALTEC S.p.A., Torino, Italy

Developer(s)
Department of Chemistry "G. Ciamician", University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
ALTEC S.p.A., Torino, Italy

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
Italian Space Agency (ASI)

Research Benefits
Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery, Space Exploration

ISS Expedition Duration
April 2017 - February 2018

Expeditions Assigned
51/52,53/54

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • The device developed within the ISS Non-invasive Sample Investigation and results Transmission to ground with the Utmost easiness (IN SITU) provides the ability to perform diagnostic tests and biomedical research involving the analysis of biosamples directly within ISS, rather than collecting and storing samples for analysis upon their return to Earth.
  • In particular, the main goal is the ability to perform immunological analyses on easily collectable biosamples, such as saliva, using a simple portable analytical device which employs disposable and ready-to-use analytical cartridges.
  • The research focuses on an important indicator of stress (salivary cortisol). Saliva samples are collected, loaded into the analytical cartridge and immediately analyzed.
  • The availability of the developed analytical device is beneficial not only for space applications, but also for any kind of critical situations on Earth (e.g., emergency medicine, bioterrorism, diagnostics in developing countries).

Description

The aim of the ISS Non-invasive Sample Investigation and results Transmission to ground with the Utmost easiness (IN SITU) investigation is the development of a miniaturized analytical device suitable for use on the International Space Station (ISS). The device is able to perform sensitive and specific quantitative measurement of biomarkers on non-invasively withdrawn biological fluids samples (in particular saliva samples). The sample collection and analysis is performed by the crew members in a simple way, and without risk to the operator or the environment of the ISS.
 
The device consists of three main components: (a) chemiluminescence (CL) reader: a detection system common and universal for all types of chemical-clinical analysis, based on chemiluminescence "imaging", (b) a series of disposable “chemiluminescence – lateral-flow immunoassay” (CL-LFIA) cartridges, each containing all the reagents for the determination of cortisol in a saliva sample, and (c) a series of disposable “oral fluid sampling equipment” for collecting a saliva sample. The project focuses on salivary cortisol, a first-level biomarker of chronic stress.
 
The CL-LFIA cartridges allow quantitative detection of cortisol, exploiting a competitive immunoassay in a lateral-flow (LFIA) format. The use of chemiluminescence detection (CL), instead of conventional visual observation of coloured bands, increases analytical performance. Each LFIA cartridge contains all the reagents necessary for the analysis in a stable form, and it is enclosed within a flight capsule compatible for use on the ISS. A saliva sample collection device is produced to allow easy sample collection, and transfer to the LFIA cartridge, without any contamination of the ISS environment.
 
The CL reader is based on an ultrasensitive CCD camera. The first prototype of this device was previously developed by the University of Bologna (UNIBO), and further developed and optimized by UNIBO in a ground prototype with improved analytical characteristics. This forms the basis for the development of a flight model, by ALTEC. The control and data acquisition system (external or integrated in the CL reader) has the task of controlling chemiluminescence signals acquisition (to be performed in appropriate areas of the sensor and with the times defined by the type of analysis). Data are downloaded to Earth and they are processed using calibration curves obtained from the analysis of standards.

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Applications

Space Applications
Humans living in space experience dramatic changes to their health, from weakened bone and muscle to reduced appetites and increased stress levels. Crew members send saliva samples back to Earth for testing, but this is expensive and cumbersome, and does not allow ground managers to address problems as they arise. The IN SITU investigation provides a new tool for real-time health checks during the mission. The device uses disposable cartridges that check for the presence of the stress hormone cortisol. The cartridges can also be easily adapted to test for other biomarkers. In addition to improving crew monitoring efforts on the ISS, the device would be a valuable health monitor on long-duration trips to Mars, asteroids, or other distant exploration targets.

Earth Applications
A miniature analytical device that can detect certain biomarkers using non-invasively collected samples would benefit health care workers on Earth, from emergency medical technicians on call, to small rural clinics in developing countries. Disposable cartridges simplify the process, enabling tests to be performed anywhere.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols

The project involves one crew member. On orbit observations require 4 measurement sessions in Inc 51/52 plus one reserve session in Inc 53/54 (each lasting 55 min), with approximately 30-day intervals between them. The capability to send data (analyses results) is required. In each session, a saliva sample is collected, immediately analyzed, and then discarded. Samples storage and return to Earth is not required.
 
The Protocol is as follows:
  1. Video camera set-up for video recording the session
  2. Retrieve the CL Reader, AC power adapter, cables and one Oral Fluid Sampling Equipment (OFSE)
  3. Retrieve one analytical cartridge from ISS Cold Stowage
  4. Stow temporary the analytical cartridge to ambient temperature at least 30 minutes (unattended)
  5. Remove the polyethylene cap from the Salivette®, take the cellulose swab and hold it in mouth for 3 minutes.
  6. Transfer the swab in the syringe (part of OFSE)
  7. Transfer saliva sample on the analytical cartridge and start processing the sample
  8. Wait 60 min for the reagents to flow along the strip (unattended)
  9. Connect CL Reader power cable to ISS Power Inverter + GFCI and USB-to-SSC laptop cable, start the CL Reader SW and check the camera setting values
  10. Complete the analysis procedure on the cartridge and wait 15 minutes
  11. Transfer the analytical cartridge to the CL reader and start the reading procedure
  12. Disconnect the CL Reader
  13. Trash the used analytical cartridge and OFSE
  14. Stow the IN SITU Hardware
  15. Download data to ground
  16. Re-store the video camera in original configuration

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites

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Imagery

image IN SITU illustration. 
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Scheme of the CL measurement device (center) and of the disposable analytical cartridge (right) for Lateral Flow ImmoAssay with chemiluminescent (CL) detection. On the right a prototype CCD camera already developed for this application is shown. The CL measurement device will measure about 20x10x10 cm.


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NASA Image: ISS052E058815 - View (part of time lapse) taken as European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Paolo Nespoli collects and processes saliva samples in the bioanalyzer for the ISS Non-invasive Sample Investigation and Results Transmission to ground with the Utmost easiness (IN SITU). Crew on the International Space Station (ISS) are continually monitored for health changes, and as part of these measurements, they have to take saliva samples that are stored and returned to Earth later. The IN SITU bioanalysis is a portable device that can check crew members’ saliva on board, enabling direct real-time analysis. The device’s first uses are to monitor stress levels and appetites among crew members.

+ View Larger Image


image
NASA Image: ISS052E058828 - View (part of time lapse) taken as European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Paolo Nespoli collects and processes saliva samples in the bioanalyzer for the ISS Non-invasive Sample Investigation and Results Transmission to ground with the Utmost easiness (IN SITU). Crew on the International Space Station (ISS) are continually monitored for health changes, and as part of these measurements, they have to take saliva samples that are stored and returned to Earth later. The IN SITU bioanalysis is a portable device that can check crew members’ saliva on board, enabling direct real-time analysis. The device’s first uses are to monitor stress levels and appetites among crew members.

+ View Larger Image


image
NASA Image: ISS052E058893 - View (part of time lapse) taken as European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Paolo Nespoli collects and processes saliva samples in the bioanalyzer for the ISS Non-invasive Sample Investigation and Results Transmission to ground with the Utmost easiness (IN SITU). Crew on the International Space Station (ISS) are continually monitored for health changes, and as part of these measurements, they have to take saliva samples that are stored and returned to Earth later. The IN SITU bioanalysis is a portable device that can check crew members’ saliva on board, enabling direct real-time analysis. The device’s first uses are to monitor stress levels and appetites among crew members.

+ View Larger Image


image
NASA Image: ISS052E058906 - View (part of time lapse) taken as European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Paolo Nespoli collects and processes saliva samples in the bioanalyzer for the ISS Non-invasive Sample Investigation and Results Transmission to ground with the Utmost easiness (IN SITU). Crew on the International Space Station (ISS) are continually monitored for health changes, and as part of these measurements, they have to take saliva samples that are stored and returned to Earth later. The IN SITU bioanalysis is a portable device that can check crew members’ saliva on board, enabling direct real-time analysis. The device’s first uses are to monitor stress levels and appetites among crew members.

+ View Larger Image