Microgravity more likely to contribute to life-saving stem cell advances on Earth

The key to producing massive batches of stem cells extra effectively could lie within the near-zero gravity circumstances of area. Scientists at Cedars-Sinai have discovered that microgravity has the potential to contribute to life-saving advances on Earth by facilitating the fast mass manufacturing of stem cells.

A brand new paper, led by Cedars Sinai and printed within the peer-review journal Stem Cell Stories, highlights key alternatives mentioned in the course of the 2020 Biomanufacturing in Area Symposium to increase the manufacture of stem cells in area.

Biomanufacturing-;a sort of stem cell manufacturing that makes use of organic supplies equivalent to microbes to supply substances and biomaterials appropriate to be used in preclinical, scientific, and therapeutic applications-;may be extra productive in microgravity circumstances.

We’re discovering that spaceflight and microgravity is a fascinating place for biomanufacturing as a result of it confers plenty of very particular properties to organic tissues and organic processes that may assist mass produce cells or different merchandise in a method that you just would not have the ability to do on Earth.”

Arun Sharma, PhD,  Stem Cell Biologist and Analysis Scientist and Head of a New Analysis Laboratory, Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medication Institute, Smidt Coronary heart Institute, and Division of Biomedical Sciences

“The final twenty years have seen outstanding advances in regenerative medication and exponential development in area applied sciences enabling new alternatives to entry and commercialize area,” he stated.

Attendees on the digital area symposium in December recognized greater than 50 potential industrial alternatives for conducting biomanufacturing work in area, in keeping with the Cedars-Sinai paper. Essentially the most promising fell into three classes: illness modeling, biofabrication, and stem-cell-derived merchandise.

The primary, illness modeling, is utilized by scientists to review ailments and potential remedies by replicating full-function structures-;whether or not utilizing stem cells, organoids (miniature 3D buildings grown from human stem cells that resemble human tissue), or different tissues.

Investigators have discovered that when the physique is uncovered to low-gravity circumstances for prolonged intervals of time, it experiences accelerated bone loss and growing old. By growing illness fashions based mostly on this accelerated growing old course of, analysis scientists can higher perceive the mechanisms of the growing old course of and illness development.

“Not solely can this work assist astronauts, however it may additionally result in us manufacturing bone constructs or skeletal muscle constructs that might be utilized to ailments like osteoporosis and different types of accelerated bone growing old and muscle losing that individuals expertise on Earth,” stated Sharma, who’s the corresponding creator of the paper.

One other extremely mentioned matter on the symposium was biofabrication, which makes use of manufacturing processes to supply supplies like tissues and organs. 3D printing is likely one of the core biofabrication applied sciences.

A serious challenge with producing these supplies on Earth entails gravity-induced density, which makes it onerous for cells to increase and develop. With the absence of gravity and density in area, scientists are hopeful that they’ll use 3D printing to print distinctive shapes and merchandise, like organoids or cardiac tissues, in a method that may’t be replicated on Earth.

The third class has to do with the manufacturing of stem cells and understanding how a few of their elementary properties are influenced by microgravity. A few of these properties embrace efficiency, or the flexibility of a stem cell to resume itself, and differentiation, the flexibility for stem cells to show into different cell varieties.

Understanding among the results of spaceflight on stem cells can probably result in higher methods to fabricate massive numbers of cells within the absence of gravity. Scientists from Cedars-Sinai will probably be sending stem cells into area early subsequent 12 months, at the side of NASA and a non-public contractor, Area Tango, to check whether or not it’s potential to supply massive batches in a low gravity surroundings.

“Whereas we’re nonetheless within the exploratory section of a few of this analysis, that is not within the realm of science fiction,” Sharma stated. “Inside the subsequent 5 years we might even see a state of affairs the place we discover cells or tissues that may be made in a method that’s merely not potential right here on Earth. And I believe that is extraordinarily thrilling.”


Cedars-Sinai Medical Heart

Journal reference:

Sharma, A., et al. (2021) Biomanufacturing in low Earth orbit for regenerative medication. Stem Cell Stories. doi.org/10.1016/j.stemcr.2021.12.001.

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