The Cure For Cancer May Be In Space

Share

Researchers Find That Zero Gravity Conditions Kill Cancer Cells

A research team in Australia found that in their study 80% of cancer cells died in zero gravity. Now they’ll send the cells responsible for the plague of this era into space as a next step. These findings add credence to an earlier study by German researchers that yielded similar results. 

The earlier German study took place in 2017. In it, professor Daniela Grimm from the University of Magdeburg led a team that cent thyroid cancer cells into space on a Chinese Dragon spacecraft. 

One Cell Type Versus Many

While Grimm’s team only focused on Thyroid caner, Joshua Chou, an engineering researcher in biomedicine at the University of Technology Sydney, and his team focused on several types. He remarked, “A lot of people around me started getting cancer, and that really motivated me to investigate cancer cells.” 

The idea to test cells in zero gravity conditions came out of Chou’s previous research. However, he also considered the nature of cancer. He continued, “There’s no way we can develop a silver bullet cure for cancer because everyone’s cancer is different and people react differently. But what I really wanted to know was: is there something these cancers have in common? That’s why I put them in the microgravity.”

Chou and his team tested many different types of cancer (breast, ovarian, lung, and nose). They found that between 80 and 90% of the cells died within 24 hours. Based on these findings, Chou and his student Anthony Kirollos decided to send cancer cells to the ISS next year. 

On to the ISS

Part of the reason Chou and Kirollos will send these cells to space will be the elimination of variables. For instance, what effect, if any, might solar radiation have had on the results? Chou says that engineering the testing technology has been challenging. However, he says that keeping the cells alive on the way to space and getting them back may prove even more so. 

The current thinking regarding microgravity’s effect on cancer cells may have to do with a protein that triggers death in unhealthy cells. Researchers aren’t trying to create hospital-class trips into orbit as a potential cure, however. The ultimate goal is to better understand these specific proteins. Ultimately researchers will use that data to create a drug that causes cancer cells to die when they’re supposed to die. 

Regardless of the end result, this research highlights the range of important work astronauts do for humanity. We love to talk about exploration. As if going to the Moon and Mars next were the only thing worth spending any money on. In the nearly twenty years it’s been in orbit, ISS crews have performed myriad experiments in nearly every scientific discipline. And each one contributes something valuable to our understanding of the universe and our place in it. 

Read More:


Enjoying Space Porn? We thought so. Why not show your support by checking out our Marketplace or becoming a patron? The merch and the perks are well worth it, and your support goes a long way toward helping us keep this site going!

Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *