Taking the development of local regenerative medicine research into outer space is set to become a reality this month.
Axiom Space, which is developing the first commercial space station, and Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine said Monday they will sent the first bioprinted solid tissue constructs to the International Space Station.
According to Cellink.com, bioprinting “is an additive manufacturing process similar to 3D printing, using a digital file as a blueprint to print an object layer by layer.”
“But unlike 3D printing, bioprinters print with cells and biomaterials, creating organ-like structures that let living cells multiply. Although bioprinting is a relatively new technology, it has huge potential to benefit industries like regenerative and personalized medicine, drug discovery and cosmetics.”
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Axiom will pilot the all-private astronaut mission Ax-2 to the low-orbit ISS. The mission will be launched from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.
The groups said the crew will conduct extensive scientific research experiments, including WFIRM’s vascularized research involving liver and kidney tissue constructs.
The tissues will be studied for 10 days to evaluate the vascularization of thick tissue in microgravity, as well as the effectiveness of this platform technology for other tissue types.
“This launch marks an important next step for our regenerative medicine research related to vascularized tissue,” WFIRM Director Dr. Anthony Atala said in a statement.
“This is an opportunity to develop an interim or early step toward creating solid tissues/partial organs for transplantation into patients in the future to address the organ shortage.”
The research is among the first fruits of the collaboration between WFIRM and Axiom that was announced in April 2022.
WFIRM officials have described the partnership as the “next frontier” in research and manufacturing.
Previous research on the ISS using cells in low-Earth orbit has included both