JUN 01, 2017 5:58 AM PDT

Cancer in Microgravity


During the many decades of space exploration and manned missions to the ISS one of the main jobs of astronauts, in addition to safely navigating the stars, has been to conduct various forms of research. The microgravity of space lends itself to all kinds of scientific experimentation and one that's being investigated now is how to use the microgravity environment to grow 3D human tissue. While many cells are being cultured in petri dishes in labs on earth, the shape of these cells is somewhat flat and they don't often grow into the proper 3D shapes that are needed. On the ISS, microgravity is the norm and developing tissue in that environment is likely a much better option that trying to create, maintain and work with a simulated gravity.

In the unique gravity of the space station, rather than being somewhat flat, like a pancake, tissue and cells can be grown in shapes that are round or cylindrical and more like actual tissue and organs. The lower levels of gravity on the ISS allow for the cells to grow and form into shapes that more like what grows in the body, and thus are better suited to treatments for diseases like cancer.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
DEC 17, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 17, 2019
Want a Cozy Fireplace on Your Screen? How About This One with Chemistry Trivia?
Have you ever wondered: underneath the evident smoky smell, what makes up other subtle aromas of a burning fire log?  A diverse group of aromatic (in...
DEC 27, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 27, 2019
Measuring Radiation: What's in the Names?
What do the Curie couple, Henrie Becquerel, Louis Harold Gray, and Ralf Sievert, have in common? These radiation pioneers defined the way we measured ioniz...
JAN 06, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 06, 2020
Every River Leap a Proboscis Monkey Makes Could be its Last
Leaves are one of the most essential components of a proboscis monkey’s diet, and in some cases, getting to the tastiest leaves means taking an enorm...
JAN 13, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 13, 2020
An Albatross Mother's Work is Never Done
Albatross chicks are naturally flightless, and this increases their dependence on their parental units to bring back food for them to eat. In this chick&rs...
JAN 16, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 16, 2020
High-speed 3D Printer to Revolutionize Manufacturing
Two significant hurdles in front of the fast expansion of three-dimensional (3D) printers are speed and scale.  In a recently published study, a team...
JAN 20, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 20, 2020
Horned Lizards Do Anything to Protect Their Eggs From Predators
When a female horned lizard lays her eggs, she finds herself up against several predators that want to devour them. Fortunately, the female horned lizard d...
Loading Comments...