Status Report

NASA JSC Solicitation: 3.0 Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging

By SpaceRef Editor
October 6, 2011
Filed under , , ,

Synopsis – Oct 06, 2011

General Information

Solicitation Number: NNJ12ZBH001L
Posted Date: Oct 06, 2011
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Oct 06, 2011
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Original Response Date: Oct 21, 2011
Current Response Date: Oct 21, 2011
Classification Code: Q — Medical services
NAICS Code: 333911 – Pump and Pumping Equipment Manufacturing

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston Texas, 77058-3696, Mail Code: BH


This notice is issued by the NASA/JSC to post a Request for Information on Techniques for using 3.0 Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to assess trabecular and cortical bone mineral density at central sties via the internet, and solicit responses from interested parties.

Request for Information (RFI): It is well established that bone mineral density (BMD) loss is rapid (1-1.5%/mo) and site-specific (axial and load-bearing sites) during long duration spaceflight. This loss occurs faster in the trabecular compartment than in the cortical compartment. A decreased BMD can be accompanied by other changes in bone structure which increase the risk for bone fracture and early onset osteoporosis. Bone fracture could have serious implications for a long duration mission. Moreover, the risk for early onset osteoporosis could limit the astronauts’ quality of life and career length.

The current techniques used to evaluate BMD are Dual-energy X-ray Absoptiometry (DXA) and Quantitative Computed Tomography (QCT). BMD has the advantage of abundant epidemiological studies completed with its use, but it only provides integral (combined cortical and trabecular bone); whereas BMDs of the separate compartments are important for distinguishing changes in bone structure vs. the remodeling of bone tissue. QCT has been valuable and informative when used to measure BMD of the two compartments in the hip and spine, but it is a research technology for which clinical implications have yet to be established.

Both DXA and QCT use ionizing radiation, which is undesirable since astronauts are scanned repeatedly to assess changes over time. It is important to minimize this exposure as can be reasonably achieved. Astronauts are already exposed to higher than normal levels of radiation during spaceflight. Therefore, DXA and other X-ray based technologies are not optimal for quantifying the changes in trabecular and cortical bone mineral density.

The astronaut population is currently being evaluated with 3.0 Tesla MRI scans for clinical monitoring and ongoing research protocols. NASA is interested in learning if there are techniques in development that could use MRI technology to quantify BMD. The advantages are the resolution, lack of radiation, and decrease in astronaut crew time by having all studies performed at a single site.

This Request for Information:

1. Is there a non-invasive technique that can utilize standard 3.0 Tesla MRI machines to assess trabecular and cortical bone mineral density at central sties (proximal femur, femoral neck and spine)?

2. How does the technique’s reproducibility and accuracy compare to current X-ray based gold standards (DXA and QCT)?

3. What is the feasibility of adopting this technique?

a. What are the risks associated with the technique?

b. What are the initial cost and operational/maintenance cost?

c. Are all the required components readily available or is specialized instrumentation required?

d. What errors do you expect from spinal degenerative changes or aortic calcification?

e. How does the technique correct for movement and water mass?

4. What information does the technique provide on bone morphometry?

5. Is this technique validated for making clinical decisions to improve outcomes regarding fracture risk and early onset osteoporosis (e.g. responsive to therapies, monitoring progression of pathologies)?

6. Are there other non-radiation solutions (besides a possible 3.0 Tesla MRI) that could provide us this information?

This document is for information and planning purposes and to allow industry the opportunity to verify reasonableness and feasibility of the requirement, as well as promote competition. Prospective offerors are invited to submit written comments or questions to: Cheryl Bass via e-mail,, no later than October 31, 2011. When responding reference NNJ12ZBH001L – 3.0 Tesla MRI.

Comments may be forwarded to Cheryl Bass via electronic transmission.

This presolicitation synopsis is not to be construed as a commitment by the Government, nor will the Government pay for the information submitted in response. Respondents will not be notified of the results.

An ombudsman has been appointed — See NASA Specific Note “B”.

The solicitation and any documents related to this procurement will be available over the Internet. These documents will reside on a World Wide Web (WWW) server, which may be accessed using a WWW browser application. The Internet site, or URL, for the NASA/JSC Business Opportunities home page is It is the offeror’s responsibility to monitor the Internet cite for the release of the solicitation and amendments (if any). Potential offerors will be responsible for downloading their own copy of the solicitation and amendments, if any.

Any referenced notes may be viewed at the following URLs linked below.

Point of Contact

Name: Cheryl D. Bass
Title: Contract Specialist
Phone: 281-483-3476
Fax: 281-483-7890

Name: LaToy J. Jones
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 281-244-8023
Fax: 281-483-4066

SpaceRef staff editor.