Scientists will take advantage of the space station's microgravity environment to study the properties of non-embryonic stem cells.
Two stem cell investigations scheduled to fly to the space station next year were highlighted
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.
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