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NASA Spinoffs Bolster Climate Resilience, Improve Medical Care, More



To make sure ventilators could be quickly manufactured and administered to those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic, a team of engineers at JPL created the Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally (VITAL) device, made of off-the-shelf parts.
Credits: NASA

When it comes to NASA, most people look to the skies as rockets, rovers, and astronauts push the boundaries of space exploration. But the benefits of going above and beyond can be found here on Earth through products and services born from NASA innovation.

The latest edition of NASA’s Spinoff publication features dozens of new commercialized technologies that use the agency’s technology, research, and/or expertise to benefit people around the globe. It also includes a section highlighting technologies of tomorrow.

NASA’s 2023 Spinoff publication features more than 40 companies using NASA innovations to benefit people around the globe.
Credits: NASA

“From the heavens to hospitals around the world, NASA spinoffs are improving life for all of humanity,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “The work NASA does in research and technology gives businesses a competitive edge, driving an economy that allows America to compete globally and creating good-paying jobs for this generation – and the next.”

NASA’s Spinoff 2023 features more than 40 companies using NASA technology, research, and funding to create better batteries to store green energy, improve airport ground traffic to save passengers and airlines time while cutting fuel costs, distribute ventilators around the world, and even heal wounds faster on humans and animals alike.

“Before it launched and gave us a new view of the universe, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope was already improving one of the most common eye surgeries on Earth,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator of the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). “This is just one example of how the technology we develop for space exploration is improving the quality of life for people here on Earth.”

This year in Spinoff, readers will learn more about:

  • How companies are using satellite data to boost human resiliency to climate change and protect homeowners against disasters such as wildfires and floods
  • A new, sustainable, meat-free protein alternative born from NASA-funded research at Yellowstone National Park
  • A robotic astronaut’s deep-diving successor that’s ready to work in offshore operations like oil wells, wind turbines, and fish farms

The publication also features a new cancer diagnostic tool informed by research on astronauts exposed to space radiation while aboard the International Space Station, a NASA-designed technology that helps find trapped people in the wake of disaster, and a new 3D printing modeling program that uses “digital cloning” to cut costs and speed up development of complex industrial parts. 

Multi Radiance Medical of Solon, Ohio, builds light-therapy devices based in part on NASA-funded research. Multi Radiance Medical’s line of light-therapy devices, combining LED and super-pulsed laser light, includes products specially designed for use on animals.
Credits: Multi Radiance Medical Inc.

“It isn’t just the commercial space industry that can leverage our innovations,” said Daniel Lockney, executive of NASA’s Technology Transfer program. “Practically any industry area can find a NASA technology as a solution to its business needs. Our scientists, researchers, and engineers are constantly creating new materials, software, tools, and more. If it isn’t here now, it soon will be.”

Spinoff is part of the agency’s Technology Transfer program within STMD. The program is charged with finding the widest possible applications for NASA technology through partnerships and licensing agreements with industry, ensuring that NASA’s investments in its missions and research find additional applications that benefit the nation and the world.

Readers also can check out Spinoffs of Tomorrow, a section that highlights 20 NASA technologies available for licensing and commercialization. Some examples include a wind warning system that uses Doppler lidar alerts to protect wind turbine blades, sensors that can boost cameras to see through waves and explore ocean environments like endangered coral reefs, and a robotic exoskeleton that can help rehabilitate arm and shoulder injuries.


Those interested in licensing NASA technology are encouraged to begin their search by browsing the agency’s patent portfolio.

To read or download the digital version of the latest issue of Spinoff, visit:

Source: NASA


National Survey Shows People Need More Education on Colon Cancer Screening

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month good time to talk about screening guidelines



Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month good time to talk about screening guidelines

COLUMBIA, Md. /PRNewswire/ — March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and a new survey conducted by MedStar Health shows people need more education when it comes to colon cancer screening.

Colorectal cancers are the fourth-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The best way to prevent those deaths is through early detection. 

MedStar Health releases new survey about colon cancer screening for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

The survey of 1000 American adults found: 

  • 59% are concerned about getting colorectal cancer.
  • Just 22% identified the correct age for a first colonoscopy. 
  • Only 11% knew the regular schedule to receive colonoscopies for people with normal risk. 
  • Only 21% of people over 45 got their first colonoscopy according to the recommendation.

“These important guidelines have been out for three years now, and we hope people are getting the message,” said Joseph Jennings, MD, MedStar Health gastroenterologist. “In 2020, the recommendations changed so people with average risk for colon cancer, meaning no family history and no symptoms, should start at age 45. The exceptions are for people with known family history of colon cancer or have certain genetic syndromes that would mean they should start earlier.”

With only 21% of those surveyed reporting they had a colonoscopy according to the 2020 guidelines, Dr. Jennings suspects they just haven’t heard about the new recommendations or they’re anxious about the preparation involved. Fortunately, he says the days of drinking liters and liters of a white chalky liquid for colonoscopy prep are over.

“Now we have smaller volumes, down to a couple of milliliters of fluid to drink, or even pills that can be taken with water and sports drinks that make the necessary prep much more palatable.  The cleaner the colon the safer and more effective the colonoscopy is. It’s still not fun, but the preparation has gotten much easier,” Dr. Jennings said.

Dr. Jennings says colonoscopy is the only test available that allows physicians to find the smallest of polyps that can become cancer and remove them at the same time.


“This age guideline of 45 can help us find the polyps when they are smaller and easier to remove and, in the end, save lives,” said Dr. Jennings.

Colorectal cancer does not always have symptoms, but they can include a change in bowel habits, blood in stool, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, or unexplained weight loss.

SOURCE MedStar Health

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Child Health

Parents Showing Major Concerns about Concussions in Youth Sports, According to New Survey

More than 90% say youth coaches should be trained in concussion protocols



More than 90% say youth coaches should be trained in concussion protocols

COLUMBIA, Md. /PRNewswire/ — A new survey from MedStar Health is highlighting significant injury concerns heading into the spring youth sports season. Following a series of highly publicized injuries in professional sports over the past year, prioritizing concussion safety is now top of mind for parents.

Concussions in Youth Sports
MedStar Health releases new survey results highlighting the concussion concerns of parents.

According to parent respondents, 93% have concerns about concussions and 91% percent believe youth sports coaches should be trained concussion protocols and CPR. This compares to a 2019 study of parents, which found that only slightly more than half of parents were worried about concussions.

“Parents are realizing that regardless of age, returning to a sport with concussion symptoms can lead to a more serious injury,” said Karen Laugel, MD, medical director of MedStar Health Concussion Clinics. “Youth sports coaches are often called upon to evaluate an injured athlete on the field and know when to refer them for medical care. Later, coaches may be asked to help supervise athletes through a ‘Return to Play’ protocol. No athlete should be allowed to return to contact sports without written medical clearance.”

Despite the increased concerns of parents, respondents show an inconsistent knowledge of current concussion protocols. The survey found that:

  • 89% believe a person suffering from a concussion must stay awake, which is an outdated guideline — in general, sleep is healing.
  • 65% believe helmets prevent concussions and almost half believe concussions can only occur from a direct hit to the head. Although helmets do not prevent concussions, they lower the risk of skull fracture and of loss of consciousness and are recommended if fitted properly.
  • 13% believe an athlete can continue to play after a head injury as long as they don’t lose consciousness — yet, the majority of concussions do not involve loss of consciousness.

“If athletes aren’t aware of their concussion symptoms after a body blow, fall, or hit to the head, they may think it’s safe to return to play. It’s critical that coaches, athletic trainers, and parents discuss concussion symptoms with athletes before the season starts and encourage them to report symptoms and remove themselves from play. It’s difficult to come out of a game, and parents and coaches can support their athletes by showing them it’s the right thing to do.”

According to Laugel, the majority of injured athletes who are removed from play experience temporary symptoms. However, if an injured child is showing progressive symptoms like worsening headache, frequent vomiting, slurred speech, worsening imbalance, or increased confusion, parents or coaches should call 911 for transport to an emergency department. If symptoms are milder, they can seek treatment from an urgent care clinic or primary care providerIf necessary, the athlete can also be referred to a concussion clinic, like the MedStar Health Clinic for Concussion Traumatic Brain Injury, for continued care.

MedStar Health’s survey included responses from 1,000 U.S. adults collected in Feb. 2022.


SOURCE MedStar Health

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FDA Issues Draft Guidance Aimed at Improving Oncology Clinical Trials for Accelerated Approval

The FDA issued draft guidance, Clinical Trial Considerations to Support Accelerated Approval of Oncology Therapeutics, regarding clinical trial design considerations to support accelerated approval applications.



The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued draft guidance, Clinical Trial Considerations to Support Accelerated Approval of Oncology Therapeutics, regarding clinical trial design considerations to support accelerated approval applications. The accelerated approval pathway is commonly used for approval of oncology drugs in part due to the serious and life-threatening nature of cancer and because of available intermediate clinical endpoints likely to predict clinical benefit.

“The FDA’s accelerated approval program has provided patients with cancer earlier access to novel treatments that can be practice changing,” said Richard Pazdur, MD, Director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence. “Today’s draft guidance provides recommendations to sponsors for designing clinical trials to support accelerated approval. Building quality and efficiency into the design of oncology clinical trials is a crucial component in providing maximum benefit to those living with cancer.”

The draft guidance discusses the design of clinical trials, and ways to improve the data available at the time of accelerated approval and reduce clinical uncertainty for patients by initiating postmarketing confirmatory studies in a timely manner. Specifically, the draft guidance addresses the design, conduct and analysis of data through two randomized clinical trial approaches – conducting two separate randomized controlled clinical trials or using one trial for both accelerated approval and to verify clinical benefit. The draft guidance also provides considerations for sponsors to determine the adequacy of single-arm studies to support an application.
For drugs granted accelerated approval, postmarketing confirmatory trials have been required to verify and describe the anticipated clinical benefit. The draft guidance discusses a potential advantage of randomized clinical trials–compared to single-arm trials–by highlighting that use of the one-trial approach, in appropriate cases, may not require separate clinical trials because longer term follow-up in the same trial could fulfill a postmarketing requirement to verify clinical benefit. Moreover, confirmatory trials that are in progress at the time of accelerated approval are more likely to result in a timely verification of clinical benefit, therefore minimizing the period of uncertainty for patients.

In a commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2022External Link Disclaimer, Oncology Center of Excellence staff outlined the concepts included and expanded upon in the draft guidance. The Oncology Center of Excellence has also launched Project Confirm, as an initiative that promotes the transparency of outcomes related to accelerated approval for oncology indications and  fosters discussion and research on the accelerated approval program. The project developed a searchable database with information on the status of all oncology accelerated approvals, a model that was then adopted by FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research for all accelerated approvals.

Related Information

Source: FDA

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