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Pharmaceutical Research

, 36:183 | Cite as

Remote Controlled Autonomous Microgravity Lab Platforms for Drug Research in Space

  • Shimon AmselemEmail author
Expert Review
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Medicines in Space

Abstract

Research conducted in microgravity conditions has the potential to yield new therapeutics, as advances can be achieved in the absence of phenomena such as sedimentation, hydrostatic pressure and thermally-induced convection. The outcomes of such studies can significantly contribute to many scientific and technological fields, including drug discovery. This article reviews the existing traditional microgravity platforms as well as emerging ideas for enabling microgravity research focusing on SpacePharma’s innovative autonomous remote-controlled microgravity labs that can be launched to space aboard nanosatellites to perform drug research in orbit. The scientific literature is reviewed and examples of life science fields that have benefited from studies in microgravity conditions are given. These include the use of microgravity environment for chemical applications (protein crystallization, drug polymorphism, self-assembly of biomolecules), pharmaceutical studies (microencapsulation, drug delivery systems, behavior and stability of colloidal formulations, antibiotic drug resistance), and biological research, including accelerated models for aging, investigation of bacterial virulence , tissue engineering using organ-on-chips in space, enhanced stem cells proliferation and differentiation.

KEY WORDS

lab-on-chips microgravity research nanosatellites organ-on-chips parabolic flights 

ABBREVIATIONS

2D

Two-dimensional

3D

Three-dimensional

API

Active pharmaceutical ingredients

CASIS

Center for the Advancement of Science in Space

CNES

Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales

CS

Colloidal systems

CSA

Canadian Space Agency

DLR

Deutschen Zentrums für Luft- und Raumfahrt

ESA

European Space Agency

GH

Growth hormone

hBTSCs

Human biliary tree stem/progenitor cells

hMSC

Human mesenchymal stem cells

ISRO

Indian Space Research Organization

ISS

International Space Station

JAXA

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

LRRK2

Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2

MEPS-II

Microencapsulation electrostatic processing system-II

MG

Microgravity

MRSA

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

NASA

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NCATS

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

NIH

National Institutes of Health

OOC

Organ-On-Chip

RPM

Random positioning machine

RWV

Rotating wall vessel

SMG

Simulated microgravity

SPAD

SpacePharma advanced microgravity lab

SPmgLab

SpacePharma microgravity lab

TH

Tyrosine hydroxylase.

Notes

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS AND DISCLOSURES

The author acknowledges funding support and grants to SpacePharma from the Israel Innovation Authority, Israel Space Agency, European H2020-SME2 grant 718,717, Italian Space Agency, US NIH/NCATS/NIBIB/CASIS Chips in Space projects grants 1-UG3-TR-002198-01 and 1-UG3-TR-002598-01. Dr. Sara Eyal from the Hebrew University is acknowledged for her helpful comments. The author is an employee of SpacePharma.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SpacePharma R&D Israel LTDHerzliya PituachIsrael
  2. 2.SpacePharma SACourgenaySwitzerland

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