International Space Station (ISS) astronauts are conducting a blood cell experiment that could improve the treatment of cancer. In a new video released by the US Space Agency as part of the AngieX Cancer Therapy study, NASA astronaut Serena Aunon-Chancellor and her team studied blood vessel endothelial cells.
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In the video, Aunon-Chancellor said the flat endothelial containers felt "nice and warm and comfortable" because they were kept at body temperature aboard the space lab ,
Several cartridge-shaped containers aboard the International Space Station currently house the cells because they are exposed to varying amounts of chemotherapy.
The team performs blood experiments in space, as cells sometimes react differently in the weightless environment of the orbit spacecraft, called microgravity. These circling cells behave more like in the body, cancer researchers can more accurately test the cells for chemo-reactions.
"Endothelial cells housed in micro-siblings in culture dishes appear to behave as if they were in the blood vessels of a living organism (in vivo) on Earth," NASA said.
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"The study could provide a cost-effective method that does not require animal testing, which could help to develop safer and more effective vascular methods targeted drugs," states the NASA project website.
(with contributions from agencies)