Does the Future of Medicine Lie in Space?
When it comes to biomedical research, Earth’s gravity can be an obstacle, making it harder to program stem cells into viable organs, obscuring the crystalline structure of proteins, and interfering with cellular communication channels. The possibility of using space to advance science is no longer an exercise in imagination as biotech start-ups begin sending experiments into orbit. The costs are high, but many researchers believe the work can lead to new treatments for osteoporosis, cancers, influenza, and neurodegenerative diseases. Pharmaceutical companies hope to commercialize the findings and researchers and policymakers see broader potential for open science to benefit all humanity.