Friday, March 8, 2019

New Diseases May Emerge During Long-term Space Flights, Warns Scientist

A pair of U.S. spacesuits inside the Quest airlock of the ISS. Credit: NASA

Scientists are planning to print bacteria on the 3D bioprinter aboard the International Space Station (ISS) to study the probability of the emergence of new diseases in long-term space flights, Managing Partner of 3D Bioprinting Solutions Laboratory Yusef Khesuani told TASS on Tuesday.

Bacteria quickly get resistant to antibiotics in a microgravity environment in outer space. This happens due to the quick formation of microfilm, the scientist noted.

"As a result, new diseases, which we do not know about, may emerge in long-term space flights. We should try to print them [bacteria] on the Organ-Avt bioprinter on the ISS [the International Space Station] and study them," the scientist said.

The experiments will be "safe for cosmonauts as they are held in completely closed systems (no liquids have to be poured from one container to another) with three degrees of protection," the scientist said.

In December 2018, the world’s first experiment was conducted on the orbital outpost for the printing of living tissues using the Organ-Avt bioprinter developed by Invitro. At that time, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko printed the tissues of the mice’s thyroid gland and human cartilage on the space station.

The Organ-Avt bioprinter developed to carry out the world’s first experiment for printing living tissues was delivered to the space station on December 3 aboard the manned Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft.

The magnetic 3D-bioprinter has been devised to grow living tissues and eventually organs and it can also be used to study the influence of outer space conditions on living organisms during lengthy flights.

The experiment has been devised by 3D Bioprinting Solutions, a bio-technical research laboratory, which is a Russian start-up and a subsidiary of Invitro company.

The plans to deliver the bioprinter’s first copy failed after the aborted launch of the Soyuz-FG booster with the manned Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft from the Baikonur spaceport on October 11.

The biological samples were delivered back to Earth aboard the manned Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft on December 20.

Credit: TASS

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