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. Dr. Zubair says, “On Earth, we face many challenges in trying to grow enough stem cells to treat patients. It 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.”
Now, 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.
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Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Zubair are available in the downloads.