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 Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>