Transporting stem cell cultivation to the earth’s orbit could play a key role in the faster rate of growth of stem cells for clinical use, according to a recent article in the International Business Times
Preliminary research has shown that the microgravity environment of the International Space Station actively increases the growth rate of stem cell, and researchers have now confirmed that human stem cell are being cultivated on the ISS for trials back on earth.
The trial are specifically researching mesenchymal stem cells (found in the bone marrow), hematopoietic stem cells (which can grow into all other blood cells) and leukemia cancer stem cells (responsible for leukemia, or cancer of blood-forming tissues).
Abba Zubair, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida who is directly involved in the research said “What is unique about this investigation is that we are not only looking at the biology of the cells and how they grow, but focusing on application, how we can use them to treat patients”.
In a statement, NASA said that the long term goals of the research were to develop a safe and reliable clinical grade stem cell bioreactor in space for commercial use and to understand the biology of stem cells and the progression of cancer stem cells.
Scott Wolf, Director of Research for Grace century commented ”It’s only a matter of time before stem cells are regularly cultivated in this manner, given their massive potential for effective clinical treatment of many diseases”