NASA Contracts Company to Develop Replacement Tissues
February 10, 2014 7:24 PM
comment(s) - last by
(Source: Paramount Pictures)
3D tissues could replace damage astronaut tissues on long flights, be used as test models on Earth
The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA) has produced
in recent years, but has also struggled to keep pace with shrinking budgets. Such struggles forced NASA to see painful changes, such as the
mothballing of the aging shuttle fleet
before a true successor had been found. But they have also provided opportunity as NASA has leaned increasingly on private sector partners to deliver innovative services.
Some NASA contracts are worth literally tens of billions of dollars -- such as
the cargo and manned flight contracts NASA
has drafted with
Elon Musk's SpaceX
. Others are more of an informal measure, with
hundreds of thousands of dollars
-- if anything -- changing hands.
We recently discussed one such effort, with
agreeing to a memorandum of understanding to brainstorm with NASA about
creating a long-term Moon colony based on inflatable modules
Now another interesting collaboration has popped up. NASA has signed agreements with
GRoK Technologies LLC
, a Houston, Texas-based research and development startup, to grow human tissues. (Note: There's a similarly named, but unaffiliated bioinformatics company called
GroK will seek to develop 3D tissues of various human tissue types such as bone or muscle.
[Image Source: Pearson Education]
The "living" (sort of) 3D models
planned would first provide
valuable medical research models
on Earth, potentially allowing testing of drugs on humans and tissue study without the
ethical concerns of testing on humans or apes
not grown in a test tube.
NASA suggests that if things go well, even more impressive gains could be had when the technology is applied to space flight. In particular,
the 3D tissues
developed could be
used as grafts to replace damaged tissue in astronauts
. Comments the space agency:
NASA is interested in the potential these technologies present for regenerating bone and muscle. During long spaceflights, astronauts are susceptible to developing osteopenia, which is a condition arising from the loss of bone and muscle mass and bone density. The patented technologies could help GRoK develop breakthrough products for the research and medical communities and advance our overall understanding of biomedicine.
Yolanda Marshall directs the
Strategic Opportunities and Partnership Development Office
(SOPDO) at NASA's
Johnson Space Center
(JSC) in Houston, Texas. Her office is tasked with reaching out to private sector partners such as GRoK to perform mutually beneficial low-cost, high impact research.
She comments on the new deal:
Biotechnology research taking place on the International Space Station and at NASA centers around the country continues to push the leading edge of science. This partnership will further enhance NASA's ability to share the unique breakthroughs made in space-based research.
GRoK will work on two projects as part of the deal. The first -- dubbed "BioReplicates" -- represents its first crack at the aforementioned 3D model of various human tissues, particularly those that are damaged during long space flights,
such as bone and muscle
. A second project, dubbed "Scionic," aims to
tap into nerves
and the hormonal system to offer pain and inflammation relief without the sometimes-ineffective pharmaceuticals used today.
The Texas startup was cofounded by a Californian lawyer,
Moshe J. Kushman
, JD, MBA. Mr. Kushman currently serves as the company's CEO. He comments on the new deal:
The GRoK team is delighted we are now a NASA licensee with the opportunity to bring forward into the commercial sector technologies that have the capacity to improve the lives of people everywhere. It's not just science fiction anymore. All indications are that 21st century life sciences will change dramatically during the next several decades, and GRoK is working to define the forefront of a new scientific wave.
GRoK’s other two co-founders are both former Johnson Space Center research veterans --
Professor Thomas J. Goodwin, Ph.D
(physiology, bioengineering) and
Dr. Linda C. Shackelford
The press release from NASA does not mention whether the deal involves any funding. If it does, such contracts are typically small in government terms, constituting at most a couple million dollars. However, partners gain certain other advantages, such as having access to NASA research staff to bounce ideas off of, unpublished NASA research data, and NASA facilities.
NASA's Johnson Space Center is a home for space research and relics alike.
The JSC facility is known as the training site for NASA's astronauts, and is one of ten major NASA facilities nationwide. It is named in honor of the late U.S. president and Texas native, Lyndon B. Johnson.
NASA [press release]
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Great for Cyborgs
2/11/2014 3:32:55 PM
Money is our overlord. We need to somehow switch to a non-monetary system like in Star Trek. I have no clue how that could ever happen without there being one government and united countries. At the rate we're going, our future is going to be more like the game Eve Online. Basically corporations become countries.
"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer
NASA Trying to Solve Medical Issues Associated with Long-Term Space Missions
January 29, 2014, 4:53 PM
New York State Lawsuit Contends Chimpanzees Deserve Human(like) Rights
December 10, 2013, 2:35 PM
Cranking it up to 11 Proves Ineffective When Tapping Spinal Nerves
October 29, 2013, 6:00 AM
SpaceX Launches Falcon 9 v1.1 Rocket for Testing; Sends Cassiope Satellite into Orbit
September 30, 2013, 2:57 PM
Doctors Save Baby's Life With Temporary 3D-Printed Bronchus
May 24, 2013, 11:49 AM
Creationists are Mad About Google Doodle Depicting Evolution
November 24, 2015, 8:48 PM
DHS and TSA: Whoops, We Missed That 73 Airport Employees May be Terrorists
November 19, 2015, 2:16 PM
Star Wars Spinoff Film "Rogue One", Theme Park Attractions Announced
August 17, 2015, 12:20 PM
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information