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 One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

nachricht The gut microbiota plays a key role in treatment with classic diabetes medication
01.06.2017 | University of Gothenburg

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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>