Space

December 16, 2013

NASA, CASIS make space station accessible for stem cell research

NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space are enabling research aboard the International Space Station that could lead to new stem cell-based therapies for medical conditions faced on Earth and in space.

Scientists will take advantage of the space station’s microgravity environment to study the properties of non-embryonic stem cells.

NASA is interested in space-based cell research because it is seeking ways to combat the negative health effects astronauts face in microgravity, including bone loss and muscle atrophy. Mitigation techniques are necessary to allow humans to push the boundaries of space exploration far into the solar system. This knowledge could help people on Earth, particularly the elderly, who are afflicted with similar conditions.

Two stem cell investigations scheduled to fly to the space station next year were highlighted Dec. 6, at the World Stem Cell Summit in San Diego. Lee Hood, a member of the CASIS Board of Directors, moderated a panel session in which scientists Mary Kearns-Jonker of Loma Linda University in California and Roland Kaunas of Texas A&M University discussed their planned research, which will gauge the impact of microgravity on fundamental stem cell properties.

Kearns-Jonker’s research will study the aging of neonatal and adult cardiac stem cells in microgravity with the ultimate goal of improving cardiac cell therapy. Kaunas is a part of a team of researchers developing a system for co-culturing and analyzing stem cells mixed with bone tumor cells in microgravity. This system will allow researchers to identify potential molecular targets for drugs specific to certain types of cancer.

Stem cells are cells that have not yet become specialized in their functions. They display a remarkable ability to give rise to a spectrum of cell types and ensure life-long tissue rejuvenation and regeneration. Experiments on Earth and in space have shown that microgravity induces changes in the way stem cells grow, divide and specialize. Stem cell biology in microgravity could inform fields ranging from discovery science to tissue engineering to regenerative medicine.

NASA selected CASIS to maximize use of the International Space Station’s U.S. National Laboratory through 2020. CASIS is dedicated to supporting and accelerating innovations and new discoveries that will enhance the health and wellbeing of people and our planet.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
NASA photograph by Carla Thomas

Katherine Lott awarded NASA Armstrong employee scholarship

NASA photograph by Carla Thomas Katherine Lott, the recipient of the 2014 NASA Armstrong Employee Exchange Council Joseph R. Vensel Memorial Scholarship, is congratulated by NASA Armstrong center director David McBride. Flankin...
 
 
NASA Earth Observatory photograph

NASA selects instruments to track climate impact on vegetation

NASA Earth Observatory photograph Two new spaceborne Earth-observing instruments will help scientists better understand how global forests and ecosystems are affected by changes in climate and land use change. This image of the...
 
 
ULA photograph

AF launches successful satellite mission

ULA photograph The Automated Navigation and Guidance Experiment for Local Space satellite, an Air Force Research Laboratory experimental satellite, and two Air Force Space Command Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Prog...
 

 
NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich

NASA’s Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan vists Armstrong Flight Research Center

NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich Surrounded by small remotely piloted aircraft, Albion Bowers explains to Ellen Stofan how technologies are tested on small platforms prior to full scale tests. NASA’s chief scientist Ellen S...
 
 
NASA/JPL-Caltech image

NASA’s Mars spacecraft maneuvers to prepare for close comet flyby

NASA/JPL-Caltech image This graphic depicts the orbit of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring as it swings around the sun in 2014. On Oct. 19, the comet will have a very close pass at Mars. Its nucleus will miss Mars by about 82,000 m...
 
 
Image courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Satellite study reveals parched U.S. West using up underground water

Image courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation The Colorado River Basin lost nearly 53 million acre feet of freshwater over the past nine years, according to a new study based on data from NASA’s GRACE mission. This is almost d...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>