Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists seal $1 million from NASA to put stem cells in space

12.08.2004


As British scientists are given the go-ahead to clone human embryos, two Kingston University researchers have linked up with NASA in the first ever collaboration on space medicine between the United Kingdom and the United States. The $US1 million project aims to explore ways to protect astronauts from space radiation in preparation for a manned mission to Mars in 2020. Dr Colin McGuckin and Dr Nico Forraz, from the University’s School of Life Sciences, will fly out to NASA’s Johnson Space Centre later this year to begin a series of experiments that could also produce significant health benefits for people back on Earth.

Dr McGuckin and Dr Forraz first met NASA officials at an international stem cell biology conference in San Francisco last year. The agency is particularly keen to tap into the scientists’ expertise gained from studying cancer victims in the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. “Radiation can destroy cells in the body which naturally defend it against illnesses such as cancer,” Dr McGuckin said. “From our previous research, we know these anti-cancer cells are common in blood from umbilical cords, which are usually discarded after babies are born. Using NASA’s advanced technology, we will work on ways to increase the body’s natural cancer destroyers.”

In further research, the team will combine umbilical blood and bone marrow stem cells with tissues from adults to grow new body tissue. The tissue is best grown in zero gravity, which mimics the conditions in the female womb. “Long-term space exposure can cause bones to weaken, so this research will help us to develop preventative medicines for the astronauts to take with them to Mars,” said NASA’s Head of Space Medicine Dr Steve Gonda, who visited the University last month. “The technology developed will be tested in NASA’s unmanned space mission in 2008.”



Using NASA’s zero gravity facilities, the researchers will develop new tissue from blood, brain, vascular, nerve, cornea and liver cells. Dr McGuckin said the technology could be used to offer partial liver transplants within five years. “NASA’s zero gravity facilities can actually speed up the growth of liver cells and form a larger tissue mass, which would then be transplanted into the human body. Depending on the individual, this could provide short or long-term benefits for patients with liver disease,” he said. “Within the next 20 years, there is also the potential to grow nerve pathways to repair damaged spines or brain damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease.”

The project is also backed by the British Government. The Department of Trade and Industry has pledged £40,000 to fund the Kingston researchers travel to NASA’s Johnson Space Centre and other expenses incurred during their stay.

Phil Smith | alfa
Further information:
http://www.kingston.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>