WDRB 41 Louisville NewsU of L researcher working on astro-surgical device

U of L researcher working on astro-surgical device

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A U of L researcher is working on an "out-of-this-world" concept: testing astro-surgery.

And NASA is really hoping the idea works.

With a crocheted space mobile and a blow-up shuttle, it's easy to see George Pantalos' passion.

"I can remember back when I was in high school, which was back in the days of Apollo, that I wanted to be in the space program," Pantalos said. "Now, working on a surgical device that could be used in space flight is the fulfillment of that dream."

Surgery...in space? How?

The U of L Professor showed us a new creation inside his lab the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute. It's called the Hermetic Surgical System. Pantalos' device tries to contain the surgical field so a patient or astronaut doesn't lose blood or body parts to gravity.

"What we would do is see if increasing the pressure inside the chamber would compress the little blood vessels so they would stop the bleeding," Pantalos said.

NASA has a long list of technologies needed to complete a mission to Mars by 2035.

The biomedical engineer and his physician colleagues from Carnegie Mellon traveled to the Johnson Space Center in Houston last week to test the H.S.S. device in zero gravity.

Pictures show the team on their four flights working in 10-second windows of weightlessness.

"We could stop the bleeding which is very important," Pantalos said.

But Pantalos is already at work on the next generation of the H.S.S. with several more to go.

"We're actually going to have to modify some of the instruments so they will work better in this particular system," he said.

For the man who grew up dreaming of space travel, being on the cutting edge of space medicine truly is out of this world.

"It is," he said. "But you have to start now with a dream to make it into a reality. That's how everything happens."

Pantalos is a successful medical researcher with four devices already in production and one pending.

He hopes to be in clinical trials on this one in five years.

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