Space Age Stroke Treat­ment

Health & Nutrition - - FLASHSTAY -

A Mayo Clinic re­searcher has re­ceived a grant to grow hu­man stem cells in the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion. If suc­cess­ful, th­ese cells could help peo­ple re­cover from stroke and may even lead to the gen­er­a­tion of tis­sues and or­gans. Stem cells are the mas­ter cells that pro­duce all or­gan and tis­sue cell types. Act­ing as a sort of re­pair sys­tem, they can the­o­ret­i­cally divide with­out limit to re­plen­ish other cells. The hu­man adult stem cells be­ing stud­ied are found in bone mar­row. Specically, the ex­perts be­hind this en­deavor are plan­ning to ex­pand the num­ber of stem cells that will in­duce re­gen­er­a­tion of neu­rons and for­ma­tion of new blood ves­sels in peo­ple who have had a stroke. On Earth, stem cells grow slowly. Ex­per­i­ments have shown that by min­i­miz­ing grav­ity, the cells grow faster. Thus, sci­en­tists the­o­rize that by es­tab­lish­ing pro­duc­tion in space, enough stem cells can be quickly gen­er­ated to help a signicant num­ber of peo­ple. In ad­di­tion, pro­duc­tion in space may re­duce the po­ten­tial for con­tam­i­na­tion. This is the rst ex­per­i­ment that Mayo Clinic has con­ducted in space. Plans are to trans­port the stem cells and nec­es­sary equip­ment to the space sta­tion within a year. Mayo Clinic ex­perts are op­ti­mistic about the ef­fect this re­search will have on the eld of re­gen­er­a­tive medicine – bring­ing hope for peo­ple with not just stroke but a va­ri­ety of dis­eases and con­di­tions.

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