Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

ESA helps Sun-fearing kids

08.07.2003


A better life is in reach for children with a rare genetic disorder that puts their lives at risk when exposed to the Sun. But a new protection suit derived from ESA space technology promises to let them play safely in daylight.



About 300 people – mostly children - across Europe have been diagnosed with the genetic disorder xeroderma pigmentosum (XP), causing extreme sensitivity to the Sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Patients cannot go outside in daylight, except with special protection - all UV must be blocked off, or else their skin and eyes may be severely damaged, eventually leading to cancer.

“Life is very difficult for our son Alex,” says Sandra Webb, mother of Alex, now eight years old and first diagnosed with XP at age four. “He can’t do anything outside without first getting specially dressed.”


“But nobody produces anti-UV clothes for XP patients - there is no market. In the UK there are only about 40 XP-patients, 25 being young children.

We had to find solutions ourselves, making masks to protect their faces and getting special deals with companies producing UV-protective fabrics. The helmet we have now mists up, you can’t see or hear very well and you get very hot. These are things we asked ESA to look at.”

In November 2002, ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme (TTP) became involved in an effort to assist these children.

“We immediately set up a working group,” says Pierre Brisson, Head of ESA’s TTP office. “This includes patient families and physicians, French company Bertin Technologies and Italian firm D’Appolonia. - businesses with experience of finding solutions to problems of everyday life on Earth using technology ESA has developed for space.”

The first prototype suit was presented at this year’s Le Bourget air show: it is divided into two items; headgear protecting the head and face, and a suit covering the rest of the body.

Professor Henri Bensahel, President of International Federation of Paediatric Orthopaedic Society, and medical leader for the project, says: “This UV suit will allow XP-patients to go safely outside and lead a more normal life.”

Bertin Technologies in France has developed the headgear, made of polycarbonate visor, a PVC film, fabric and an adjustable plastic headband. The helmet also has been designed to look ‘cool’ for children. The headgear is being exhaustively tested to validate its protective qualities. A French cosmetic sun-cream production company with one of Europe’s best UV testing facilities is involved in the verifying, along with ESA’s Netherlands-based Space Research and Technology Centre.

D’Appolonia is responsible for the UV protective undergarments, designed by Mauro Taliani of Hugo Boss and Corpo Nove fame, and produced by Grado Zero Espace. The undergarment fabrics have a special coating used on spacecraft to provide a 100% UV barrier. And for warm weather, a special cooling system has been designed by French Thermagen to be hidden below normal clothing.

The first results are two prototype suits to be worn by two children, one in France and Alex Webb in the UK – who said he liked his suit as he first tried it on, and he can see much better. The objective is to have a production suit ready in 2004, with the hope that finances can be found to provide a suit to every XP-child in Europe.

Joana Trindade | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/SEM247XO4HD_FeatureWeek_0.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Fast-tracking T cell therapies with immune-mimicking biomaterials
16.01.2018 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht Dengue takes low and slow approach to replication
12.01.2018 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

White graphene makes ceramics multifunctional

16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

Breaking bad metals with neutrons

16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

ISFH-CalTeC is “designated test centre” for the confirmation of solar cell world records

16.01.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>