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Surprising Science

NASA Breakthrough Could Revolutionize Medicine

The space agency’s Biosciences Division has created a medical tool for astronauts that stands to benefit millions of Earth-bound patients by improving a wide range of treatments.

What’s the Latest Development?

NASA’s Space Biosciences Division has created a new medical tool for astronauts that could vastly improve the health of millions of Earth-bound patients. A tiny biocapsule to be implanted beneath the skin was designed to solve the problem of radiation poisoning during space travel, particularly on longer missionsperhaps one to Mars. When the Sun blasts its powerful energy in the direction of an astronaut, the capsule would sense dangerous levels of radiation and release medicine to help the body compensate.

What’s the Big Idea?

The potential civilian uses for this technology are truly astounding, automating and localizing treatments that today are inconvenient and imprecise. The capsule could sense blood sugar fluctuations in diabetes patients and release measured insulin, preventing many from slipping into comas that occur when grave blood sugar fluctuations occur during sleep. For cancer patients, the capsule could be implanted into tumors, facilitating localized chemotherapy treatments without a visit to the hospital. Nearly incredible!

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