KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), June 3, 2019 – At the upcoming 2019 BIO International Convention, the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory will moderate a session on tissue engineering onboard the orbiting laboratory. Session panelists include multiple ISS National Lab partners who will discuss space-based tissue engineering research and the impact such research could have on improving therapeutics and patient care on Earth. The annual BIO International Convention, hosted by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, attracts more than 16,000 biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry leaders from around the world, with more than 7,000 companies in attendance.
The session is slated to take place at the Philadelphia Convention Center on Tuesday, June 4 from 3:15 p.m. ET to 4:15 p.m. ET in room 111AB, level 100. Panelists will include:
- Dr. Michael Roberts, Deputy Chief Scientist, International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory (moderator)
- Dr. Lucie Low, Program Manager, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (part of the National Institutes of Health)
- Dr. Michele Grimm, Program Director, National Science Foundation
- Andrei Georgescu, University of Pennsylvania Graduate Medical Student and co-investigator of Lung Host Defense in Microgravity (launched on SpaceX CRS-17 in May 2019)
- Jana Stoudemire, Commercial Innovation Officer, Space Tango
The ISS National Lab has identified tissue engineering as a key research area, attracting both funding agencies and research partners to explore how the unique environment of the space station can be leveraged to advance the field of regenerative medicine. The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), part of the National Institutes of Health, recently funded five separate investigations that launched to the space station as part of the NCATS Tissue Chips in Space initiative. This initiative is a multiyear, multiflight program in partnership with the ISS National Lab that aims to advance understanding of human diseases, with the goal of translating findings into potential new treatments to improve health on Earth.
Tissue chips are small devices engineered to grow human cells on an artificial scaffold to model the structure and function of human tissues and organs. Because tissue chips are made using human cells, they provide higher-accuracy models, and in microgravity, tissue chips have the potential to accelerate pathways for understanding the mechanisms behind disease and developing new treatments. Spaceflight induces changes in body systems that in many cases mimic the onset of health-related outcomes associated with aging and debilitating chronic human diseases on Earth. Thus, spaceflight provides opportunities both for analysis of these rapid physical changes and for testing of therapeutics in accelerated models of aging or disease.
Additionally, the National Science Foundation has partnered with the ISS National Lab on multiple funding opportunities to support research aimed at advancing tissue engineering and mechanobiology, with projects planned for launch as early as 2020. Through investigations and partnerships such as these, the ISS National Lab seeks to enable the development of improved therapeutics and accelerate the time to market of new treatments for the benefit of life on Earth.
To raise awareness of the research capabilities available on the ISS National Lab and to enhance utilization of the orbiting laboratory, the ISS National Lab actively participates in a number of conferences within key research disciplines. This is the fifth year the ISS National Lab has participated in the BIO International Convention with a featured session highlighting research onboard the space station. The convention provides an important platform for the ISS National Lab to engage with prospective users within the life sciences community and the biotechnology industry to communicate the value of space-based research and development in these areas.
To learn more about life sciences investigations onboard the ISS National Lab and to review case studies, please visit www.ISSNationalLab.org.
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About the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory: In 2005, Congress designated the U.S. portion of the ISS as the nation’s newest national laboratory to optimize its use for improving quality of life on Earth, promoting collaboration among diverse users, and advancing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. This unique laboratory environment is available for use by non-NASA U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The ISS National Lab manages access to the permanent microgravity research environment, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied conditions of space.
About the National Science Foundation: The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2019, its budget is $8.1 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.
About National Center for Translational Sciences: NCATS is all about getting more treatments to more patients more quickly. Several thousand genetic diseases affect humans, of which only about 500 have any treatment. A novel drug can take 10 to 15 years and more than $2 billion to develop, and failure rates occur in about 95 percent of human studies. NCATS is directly addressing this problem by discovering new technologies and other approaches that could greatly accelerate the process of developing and deploying solutions that can be used by all translational researchers. Learn more about NCATS.
About Space Tango: Space Tango provides improved access to microgravity through their Open Orbit platform for research and commercial manufacturing applications that benefit life on Earth. The Company believes the microgravity environment is a new frontier for discovery and innovation. Space Tango is focused on creating a new global market 250 miles up in low Earth orbit and envisions a future where the next important breakthroughs in both healthcare and technology will occur off the planet. Recognized for their expertise in microgravity design and operations, Space Tango believes that by exploring with industry and educational partners of all kinds, we can improve life on Earth and inspire the next generation to continue to expand the horizon of this new frontier. For more information, visit www.spacetango.com.
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