Tissue Healing in Space
Tissue Healing in Space
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A European Space Agency Topical Team

Tissue Healing in Space

Techniques for promoting and monitoring tissue repair and regeneration

 

Tissue regeneration, repair, and monitoring are attractive markets for industries and investors because of their intrinsic multidisciplinary character that helps to create exploitable results all along the research and development chain.

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Market forecasts are extremely positive for all the domains covered directly and indirectly ( i.e. through networking) by the participant to the Topical Team. For example, the regenerative medicine market is expected to grow up to 68 billion USD by 2020 with a promising growth rate of 23% per year. Also, the medical sensors market is reported from different sources to reach about 10 billion USD in 2020 with a growth rate of 30% per year. Many segments of those markets could directly take advantage of the research topics presented in this proposal and of their study and development in the space environment. Experiments in Space will help at a better understanding of the repair mechanisms of wounded tissues, the development of more effective wound dressing and enhanced wound and suture healing as well as improve knowledge on tissue regeneration possibly by using stem cells, platelets, growth factors, drugs and physical therapies. It is straightforward to understand the potential impact that one of this research topics could have on the global healthcare market.

Also, the increased knowledge in sectors as hydrocolloids, hydrophilic scaffolds, foam dressings, growth factors and antimicrobial dressing could trigger game-changing innovation in domains such as biomimetic materials, infection control, and bone regeneration. Moreover, the development of new materials for packaging and sensing and the optimization of innovative manufacturing processes (such as self-assembly of single and complex nanostructures) could have an important impact in the field of medical diagnostics, and medical care.

Expected Impact


Increased knowledge

The role of gravity and mechanical forces in the regulation of the processes involved in tissue repair/regeneration;  how unloading conditions can affect sutured/unsutured wound healing, a very important physiological process that ensures the survival of the organism and its integrity; the role of mechanical factors in chronic wounds occurrence; the effect of μg on composition and mechanical properties of ECM; stroma behavior  in unloading conditions and possible effects on the homeostasis of other organs and tissues; the effect of gravity on 3D tissue organization and also on cell-cell interaction in 3D scaffold systems;  the role of sutures and mechanical factors in modulating functional requirements of tissue grafts; tissue regeneration under conditions of aberrant mechanotransduction;  morphological and functional parameters of tissue regeneration; dysregulation of the stroma microenvironment and  signaling, that characterizes not only defective repair but also important pathologies as fibrosis and cancer.

 



From Knowledge to Applications

Advancements in surgical techniques and sutures for application in µg conditions and on Earth; transfer of knowledge to diseases on Earth would help to solve healing problems in frail subjects, e.g., elderly, hemophiliac, diabetic, and/or bedridden patients; support to long-duration human space exploration as regards health issues: how to manage injured patients, traumatic events, burns and emergency surgery on board;  support for the development of countermeasures and therapies: for example, appropriate combination of pharmacological and physical factors to improve tissue regeneration and healing avoiding fibrotic scars; Selection of scaffolds and cell co-cultures for tissue engineering and graft optimization; selection of 3D experimental models that could represent an alternative to the use of animal models; advancements in the treatment of burns; development/improvement of methods and techniques for cell therapy and tissue engineering; development of devices to monitor wound /suture behavior and tissue healing (measurement of parameters such as mechanical forces, water content in the tissue);new biocompatible coatings for biomedical applications;


 
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”
— J.F. Kennedy
 

 
 
 

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