By Brooks Baehr - bio | email
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Scientists from Honolulu based Tissue Genesis Incorporated are participating in the final flight of the space shuttle program aboard the shuttle Atlantis. They developed research equipment on the shuttle designed to study how adult stem cells interact with other cells in near zero gravity, or micro gravity. The research may eventually lead to medicine and treatment to help astronauts recover from the ill effects of space travel.
"Astronauts that are out in space for a while will have less stress on their muscles and bones, so that actually leads to muscle atrophy and bone loss and even problems potentially with your cardiovascular system," said Rex Chang, Director of Business Development for Tissue Genesis Incorporated.
"Wounds don't heal. Cuts don't heal. Even just the regular bone creation and such are all limited, and so if we can understand that process and then add our stem cells and our regenerative cells … it certainly proves well for those long term flights that are planned later," said Tissue Genesis president and CEO Anton Krucky after witnessing the launch in person at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The research on the Atlantis parallels work Tissue Genesis is doing in its lab in Honolulu. It extracts adult stem cells from human fat. Those stem cells may someday be used to treat a wide range of ailments from clogged arteries, to spinal injuries ... even erectile dysfunction.
"It's sad to see that the Space Shuttle program is coming to and end, but we're very excited to have been a part of it and we're looking forward to the opportunity to be with NASA going forward," Chang said.
The shuttle is expected back on earth July 20th. That is when scientists with Tissue Genesis can begin to analyze data from the stem cell research in space.