The scientists from around the world are struggling to come up with improved cancer-fighting therapies. But NASA has a particular plan and wants to find better cancer treatments in space, helped by the NASA astronaut Serena Aunon-Chancellor, one of the Expedition 56 crewmembers on the International Space Station (ISS).
As part of the Angiex Cancer Therapy experiments, Serena Aunon-Chancellor sent home a video with the progress of the trials last Tuesday, August 21st. NASA plans to study the behavior of endothelial cells, produced by blood vessels, in outer space. The importance of such a study relies on the difference in how some of the human body cells change in zero-gravity environment.
And, according to the NASA report, the endothelial cells captive in culture dishes on the ISS behave like they would be inside the blood vessels in a living human being. And that’s why NASA plans on exposing these cells to various chemotherapy interventions to see their responses and how could they improve cancer-fighting therapies.
NASA hopes to find better cancer treatments in space
As the endothelial cells aboard the ISS are behaving like those inside a living human, but perform more than they’d usually do, they are the best way for cancer researchers to test different cancer treatments and see how they work. As we speak, a few containers on the International Space Station are already undergoing exposure to various levels of chemotherapy.
“The study may facilitate a cost-effective method that does not require animal testing, which may help develop safer and more-effective vascular-targeted drugs,” according to the project’s latest documentation.
“We’ve had [the endothelial cells cultures] for almost two months now up here in ISS. We feed them. We give them nutrients, and they are like miniature crewmembers living with us,” said NASA astronaut Serena Aunon-Chancellor, adding amused that the containers are “all nice and warm and comfortable.”