While the space is nominally considered a “harsh” environment for sustaining life due to its atmosphere, microgravity, and exposure to intense galactic cosmic rays (GCR), causing adverse health effects like accelerated aging, DNA damage, tissue damage, and disease, it also offers unique opportunities for development and screening of therapeutic modalities that can immensely benefit therapeutic development activities for terrestrial applications. Another advantage the unique space environment offers is the effect of microgravity enables facile formation of human organoids 3D in vitro models that exquisitely mimic the complexity of our tissues and organs and provide a practical alternative to whole-organism studies in human and can be used to study various pathophysiological phenomena on Earth, for deep space manned missions, and developing personalized medicine. Sachi Bioworks will team up with Space Tango for accelerating the development of therapeutics for neurodegeneration, cancer treatment, and cardiovascular diseases.
The proposed project and rapid drug-discovery and manufacturing in space can lead to “on-the-fly” therapeutic manufacturing, providing “on-demand” therapeutics for different adverse health conditions that can arise during space travel. Moreover, such therapeutics can be personalized to different astronauts (personalized medicine), providing capability for NASA missions to ensure positive therapeutic outcomes to maintain astronaut’s health. This could also lead to availability of effective therapeutics without frequent restocking missions.
For terrestrial applications, the space-based rapid and low-cost drug-screening in space can result in development of new and effective therapies to treat a wide-range of disease affecting millions of patients. Moreover, by shifting the drug-screening from animal testing to human cell lines and organoids can also ensure successful translation and advent of personalized and effective medicine.