Space could become the ideal place to produce stem cells for the treatment of diseases

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Space is still an undiscovered environment for the human being. Research that has been done outside of Earth have made it possible for scientists to consider new opportunities to study different fields, such as space mining or the medicine. We are going to talk about a study of the latter in space in this article.

Recently, an article titled ‘Biomanufacturing in Low Earth Orbit for Regenerative Medicine‘ in the specialized journal Stem Cell Reports. In it, researchers at Cedars-Sinai Hospital (Los Angeles) determined that microgravity could facilitate the rapid production of stem cells.

Arun Sharma, a biologist specializing in mother cells and scientist, researcher, and director of a new laboratory at the Cedars-Sinai Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Smidt Heart Institute, and the Department of Biomedical Sciences, explained:

“We found that spaceflight and microgravity provide an optimal environment for biofabrication because it imparts a number of very special properties to tissues and biological processes that can help mass-produce cells or other products in a way not replicable on Earth.”

This study detailed how their discovery would be able to contribute to advances that save millions of lives on Earth. “The last two decades have seen remarkable advances in regenerative medicineas well as exponential progress in the space technologies that allow us to explore new opportunities in the space market,” says Sharma.

Images of astronauts doing stem cell research on the International Space Station.
Images of astronauts doing stem cell research on the International Space Station.

The properties that the study highlights of the influence of microgravity on the production of stem cells are, above 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 structures in 3D cultured from human stem cells) or other tissues have been proposed as possible treatments for some diseases. These innovative studies could be very useful just for those who spend time in space.

Some experts have found thatwhen the body is exposed to low gravity conditions for a long time, it suffers from bone loss and aging accelerated that also affect the rapid advance of a illness.

Sharma believes that the production of space stem cells can help astronauts, but not only them. “It can also lead us to manufacture bone or muscle structures that could be applied to diseases such as osteoporosis or other forms of accelerated bone aging and muscle wasting that people experience in the earth“, emphasizes the professional.

The biologist recalls that they are still in the first phase, but that what they propose in the work “no longer belongs to the field of science fiction.” “In the next 5 years we could have a scenario where cells or tissues can be manufactured in a way that simply isn’t possible here on Earth,” Sharma ventures.

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