Space is still an unknown environment for man. Research carried out outside the Earth allowed scientists to consider new possibilities explore different areas such as space mining or Medicine. The study of the latter in space will be discussed in this article.
Recently, the specialized journal Stem Cell Reports published an article “Biomanufacturing in low Earth orbit for regenerative medicine”. In it, researchers at Cedars-Sinai Hospital (Los Angeles) determined that microgravity can promote the rapid production of stem cells.
Arun Sharma, stem cell biologist and scientist, researcher and director of the new laboratory at Cedars-Sinai Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Smidt Heart Institute and Department of Biomedical Sciences, explained:
“We have found that spaceflight and microgravity provide an optimal environment for biofabrication, as they impart a number of very special properties to tissues and biological processes that can help mass-produce cells or other products in a way that cannot be replicated on Earth.”
This study details how their discovery could lead to progress that saves millions of lives on Earth. “The past two decades have seen remarkable advances in regenerative medicine.as well as the exponential progress in space technology, which allows us to explore new opportunities in the space market,” says Sharma.
The properties that the study of the effect of microgravity on stem cell production highlights are, first of all, the potential of these cells to become any other type of cell and their ability to regenerate themselves.
New treatments for diseases
The use of stem cells, organoids (tiny three-dimensional structures grown from human stem cells) or other tissues have been proposed as possible treatments for some diseases. These innovative studies can be very useful just for those who spend time in space.
Some experts have found thatwhen the body is exposed to low gravity for a long time, it suffers from bone loss and aging accelerated which also contributes to the rapid progression of the disease.
Sharma believes that the production of space stem cells can help astronauts, but not only them. “It could also lead us to create bone or muscle structures that can be used to treat disease. such as osteoporosis or other forms of accelerated bone aging and the muscle wasting that people experience on Earth,” emphasizes the professional.
The biologist recalls that they are still at the first stage, but what they propose in the work “is no longer in the realm of science fiction.” “In the next 5 years we could have a scenario where cells or tissues could be produced in a way that is simply not possible here on Earth,” Sharma ventured.
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