KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), Nov. 21, 2022 – More than 200 million people worldwide are affected by osteoporosis, a crippling bone disease that reduces bone density, weakening bones and making them increasingly prone to fractures. Researchers of RevBioa biomedical startup, are turning to the microgravity environment of the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory to advance the development of a new therapeutic agent that can help bone fractures repair.
Osteoporosis fractures significantly reduce quality of life, and immobilization after a fracture can lead to further bone loss, putting patients at risk of breaking another bone. To help patients recover faster, RevBio developed a potential new therapeutic device, a proprietary bone glue called Tetranite®, that promotes bone growth. In a study launching on SpaceX’s 26th Commercial Resupply Services mission (SpaceX CRS-26), the company will examine how well Tetranite® works to regenerate new bone during spaceflight.
“Our glue can not only help strengthen bones by repairing fractures, but also help regenerate very low-quality or volume-deficient bone,” said RevBio founder and CEO Brian Hess.
Microgravity has been shown to cause bone loss similar to that seen in patients with osteoporosis on Earth, but at an accelerated rate. Previous research has also shown that microgravity blocks the development of stem cells into new cells, which the RevBio team believes could be why astronauts lose bone mass during spaceflight. This makes the ISS an ideal environment to study osteoporosis and test therapies. Results from the team’s experiment could not only improve patient care here on Earth, but also provide more effective healthcare options for astronauts on long-duration missions.
This research continues previous ISS National Lab sponsored research from RevBio (formerly LaunchPad Medical). The company received a grant for its first project through the Technology in Space Prize, funded by Boeing and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, Inc. (CASIS), manager of the ISS National Laboratoryin collaboration with the MassChallenge startup accelerator program.
The research launching on SpaceX CRS-26, supported by ISS National Lab Implementation Partner Leidos Innovations Corporation, will work in two ways. First, it will be investigated how skeletal stem cells (bone-specific postnatal stem cells) are affected by microgravity. And second, it will evaluate Tetranite® Bone Glue to see how it promotes bone regeneration by stimulating skeletal stem cells.
“With this study, we will be able to really map what happens to skeletal stem cells in space compared to what happens on Earth,” said Giuseppe Intini, an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine and principal investigator on this project. , who is working with the RevBio team on the development of the Tetranite®. “That’s important because previous research has shown that microgravity can trap stem cells in an undifferentiated state, which could cause bone mass decline in astronauts.”
Intini says the results of this experiment could help researchers better understand how skeletal stem cells could be used for therapeutic applications, which could ultimately lead to better treatments for bone fractures and methods to help reduce the development of bone defects.
To evaluate how well Tetranite® works, the team is sending 40 mice to the orbiting lab, some with a bone defect in their calvarial bone (the top part of the skull). The mice with defects are divided into three groups: mice that remain untreated, mice whose defects have been filled with RevBio’s Tetranite® bone adhesive, and mice whose defects have been treated with INFUSE® – an inductive bone graft product from another company currently on the market. the market is. market.
“Microgravity is the ultimate test bed,” Hess said. “If we can show that our material can stimulate bone, specifically spur bone regenerative cells to be more active and do their jobs more efficiently despite being in a compromised state, that would be the ultimate demonstration.”
SpaceX CRS-26 will launch from Kennedy Space Center no earlier than November 22 at 3:54 p.m. EST. This mission will include more than 20 ISS National Lab-sponsored payloads. For more information on all the ISS National Lab-sponsored research on SpaceX CRS-26, visit our Homepage.
disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of press releases posted on EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of information through the EurekAlert system.