Small Treatment with Big Effect: Using the Space Station to Understand How Nanoparticles Could Combat Bone Loss (from nasa.gov)
Small Treatment with Big Effect: Using the Space Station to Understand How Nanoparticles Could Combat Bone Loss
In 2015, a team led by three Italian scientists sent an experiment to the International Space Station to be performed by ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti,who is Italian. Five years later, the all-woman led team has now published the results in the research journal, Scientific Reports.
Livia Visai, Giuseppina Rea, and Angela Maria Rizzo are the women behind the fundamental work for the Italian Space Agency (ASI) experiment known as the Nanoparticles and Osteoporosis (NATO) project. The results show that a new drug delivery system tested aboard the station has beneficial effects for promoting stem cells to become osteoblasts – the cells responsible for bone formation. Scientists could use this research to develop treatments to combat bone degeneration during long-duration spaceflight or even for treating osteoporosis on Earth.
“Bone is a living tissue that is constantly destroyed and reformed. Cells called osteoclasts destroy bone, while other cells called osteoblasts produce new bone,” says Cristoforetti in the logbook for her 199-day mission, dubbed Futura. “As long as destruction and production are in balance, everything is good, but in weightlessness this balance is disturbed and osteoclasts win. That is also what happens when people suffer of osteoporosis, unfortunately a common problem.” […]