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Swiss space stem cell studies start

Monday March 9th, 2020

European scientists have begun research on adult stem cells in space, testing the potential benefits of weightlessness, it has been announced.

Some 250 test tubes from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, were dispatched from Cape Canaveral, USA, on Friday to the International Space Station.

During a month long stay, the cells are due to develop into bone, cartilage and other organs.

The aim is to see whether weightlessness can improve development or offer new opportunities.

The project could lead to "large-scale" production of stem cells in space. The researchers have their sights on material needed for transplants, such as liver cells or cartilage.

Researcher Professor Oliver Ullrich, director of the University's Space Hub, said: "Artificially produced autologous human tissue could be used to determine which combination of drugs is the most suitable for the patient in question.

"In addition, human tissue and organ-like structures produced in space could help to reduce the number of animal experiments.”

Tags: Europe | Internal Medicine | Traveller Health

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