Heart tissue study to shuttle to Space Station

March 6, 2020

Heart tissue study to shuttle to Space Station

In space, an astronaut's heart works harder, and that can lead to problems. That's why Nate Sniadecki, professor of mechanical engineering and an investigator with UW Medicine's Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, and his team are sending heart tissues to the International Space Station  to examine those effects.  A later planned space study will start to look for  potential treatments or drugs to counteract those issues.  The tissues were created from stem cells derived from human adult cells.

"This opportunity to really kind of push the frontier for space travel is really every engineer's kind of dream," Sniadecki said. "And I think the medicine side of it is also extremely helpful on Earth too because what we discover here could potentially have treatments for counteracting aging that might happen."

Scientists will be examining data from nearly 50 tissues in space, and another 50  similar tissues here on Earth. This is the first phase of a two-part project.

The project is now packed aboard the spacecraft that will take it to the International Space Station. If weather and other conditions permit, the experiment will be launched  to the International Space Station this evening at about 8:30 p.m. PST this evening, March 6 on the SpaceX/Dragon CRS-20 cargo shuttle,  Watch live on NASA Television  or see their schedule for replays. .

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