Thursday, December 19, 2013

Extra on the Mayo

Click the arrow to watch on YouTube an interview with Dr. Abba Zubair of the Mayo Clinic.

A press release posted yesterday by the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville illustrates yet another reason why microgravity research has so much potential for the medical sciences — and why Space Coast-based CASIS is leading the way.

Abba Zubair, M.D., Ph.D, believes that cells grown in the International Space Station (ISS) could help patients recover from a stroke, and that it may even be possible to generate human tissues and organs in space. He just needs a chance to demonstrate the possibility.

He now has it. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), a nonprofit organization that promotes research aboard the ISS, has awarded Dr. Zubair a $300,000 grant to send human stem cells into space to see if they grow more rapidly than stem cells grown on Earth.

Dr. Zubair, medical and scientific director of the Cell Therapy Laboratory at Mayo Clinic in Florida, says the experiment will be the first one Mayo Clinic has conducted in space and the first to use these human stem cells, which are found in bone marrow.

“On Earth, we face many challenges in trying to grow enough stem cells to treat patients,” he says. “It now takes a month to generate enough cells for a few patients. A clinical-grade laboratory in space could provide the answer we all have been seeking for regenerative medicine.”

The article concludes:

“I don't really think growing cells in space for clinical use on Earth is science fiction,” he says. “Commercial flights to the ISS will start soon, and the cost of traveling there is coming down. We just need to show what can be achieved in space, and this award from CASIS helps us do that.”

Elsewhere in the world of CASIS, a press release today announced “a partnership with Angelus Funding to identify and possibly fund new and intriguing start-up commercial projects destined for the International Space Station (ISS) that are capable of benefitting life on Earth.”

This partnership leverages Angelus Funding’s considerable access to capital and collection of professionals capable of identifying opportunistic commercial projects that result from the unique environment provided on the ISS National Lab. Angelus Funding will then present these opportunities to its members for potential investment. CASIS itself will receive no investment but acts as a conduit for bringing together Angelus Funding and potential candidates for funding.

I've said many times that microgravity is the next Gold Rush. The gold-seekers are lining up for the promised land.

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