NASA Biocapsule Can Treat Patients with no InterventionWhen you’re in space, there’s probably not a doctor near by in your network. So what do you do when you get sick up there? Well, if you’re a NASA astronaut soon to launch, you get better. Period.
The group that brought us moon shots and voyager probes have successfully managed to make small, portable medicine dispensers that can live under your skin, pretty much indefinitely. And when one of the sensors detects an astronaut getting sick, it will pop some medicine straight into their blood stream, healing them probably before they had even noticed the symptoms.
Before launch, the astronauts would undergo a very light surgery, with a small slit cut (most likely in their thigh) through the skin. These biocapsules would then be slid in under the skin and left to wait for an emergency.
One easy use, for example, would be to treat the radiation exposure that astronauts deal with daily. If they were left purely to their own devices, we might see an incredibly high cancer rate among astronauts. But we treat cancer patients undergoing radiation treatment with a hormone called G-CSF, which helps boost the immune system and defend against potential (cancerous) mutations. By sticking G-CSF into a biocapsule, an astronaut could automatically deal with potential radiation poisoning.
There’s no word on how these things are controlled. One assumes that they are combined with microsensors to sense when there is a problem, or perhaps they are remotely activated, mitigating the need for a needle to be pushed through the skin--always a dangerous procedure, no matter how many times you do it.
Either way, these biocapsules could be lifesavers here on Earth. Imagine treating diabetes with one. Stick the insulin into a biocapsule, and, as the body drops below acceptable levels, squirt out a little insulin. With almost no interference, the body would be regulating its insulin levels again, just as if it weren’t diabetic.
The best part? Because they are completely and totally inert, your body doesn’t react to them being inside it. And the nanostructure used isn’t degradable by any known enzyme--one time when biodegradability would be a nightmare.
One can only hope that, in the future, we manage all medicine through biocapsules. It would make going to the doctor much less painful.