International Space Station (ISS) National Lab implementation partner Space Tango is partnering with the National Stem Cell Foundation, the Summit for Stem Cell Foundation, and the New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute to study Parkinson’s disease and primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) in space.
For the project, funded by the National Stem Cell Foundation, cells from patients with Parkinson’s and PPMS will be cultured on the space station for the first time to examine cell-cell interactions that occur in neurodegenerative disease.
The researchers will convert induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from patients with Parkinson’s and PPMS into different types of brain cells that, when cultured, form 3D aggregates called “organoids.” Such organoids serve as advanced human cellular models of the diseases that researchers can use to better understand the behavior of cells in people with neurodegnerative disease.
Space Tango developed the hardware for the project, which is planned for launch to the space station in mid-2019. Find out more about the project here.
In the video below, learn about another ISS National Lab investigation focused on Parkinson’s disease. The project, from the Michael J. Fox Foundation, aims to grow crystals of the LRRK2 protein, a key target in identifying the makeup of Parkinson’s.