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Russian Medicine is Shooting to the Outer Space
July 16, 2017 19:57

In 2018 a bioreactor with stem cells will be launched to the Earth orbit.
Scientists of the I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University have got Roscosmos license for research and experiments beyond the Earth. In March 2018, it is planned to launch the bioreactor into orbit. The experiment will make it possible to study the effect of space flight on the survival of stem cells. In the future, these developments will be used for the treatment of astronauts during long flights.
The research is aimed at finding out the changing in properties of cell cultures during a space flight. Scientists want to establish how extraterrestrial conditions affect the functioning of the mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs are cells that make the matrix of all organs and tissues of the human body).

“Cosmic biology has arisen because conditions are completely different beyond the boundaries of our planet. The human body, adapted to life on the surface of the Earth, will function differently in the outer space, with the cells having totally different interactions there. The major problems, identified more than half a century ago, are due to the fact that people after returning from zero gravity face walking troubles. They suffer from muscles atrophy, whereas their bones lose calcium. Our goal is to solve this problem," - said Mikhail Krasheninnikov, a leading researcher in the Advanced Cellular Technologies Department of the First Medical University.

The paramount task for scientists before the launch of the project is to create equipment that will provide conditions for the survival and growth of various mammalian cells in the outer space.

“The people taking very long space flights will face a variety of medical problems. No matter how well trained and strong they are, a person who finds oneself in totally different conditions should be backed up with an opportunity to cure themselves,"- Mikhail Krasheninnikov said.

The new bioreactor has been developed since 2003, and the device has already been engineered. However, today there is no equipment that simulates conditions identical to those in the body. Such equipment will have to work in zero gravity, on the Earth, and in supragravity.

“Astronauts should not influence the operation of this device. It should be on visual inspection: whether there have been failures in its work or leaks of biological substances. There must be triple protection to prevent spilling out of this bioreactor and infecting someone, as well as save the reactor contents from dying under external manipulation. There should be several launches of the kind, because one is not enough for drawing conclusions: statistics are needed," - the scientist explained.

The Russian Health Ministry reports that the experiment "will benefit science in general".

Space medicine is developed by the Normal Physiology Department of the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia. Professor Alexander Severin from this department believes that this research is on the front burner.

“It is extremely interesting to find out how the biological processes of synthesis and decomposition take place in the conditions of zero gravity, which is extremely difficult to generate on the Earth. The research is expensive, but space flights have always been expensive,” - Alexander Severin pointed out.

The project is planned to be launched by March 2018. Now the development and testing of equipment is under way, as well as the drawing up of an end-to-end schedule, according to which the experiment will unfold.


Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Space Flights Bioreactor Russian Medicine   

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