As part of NASA’s 15-day roundtrip space shuttle mission to the international space station, a new line of liver stem cells is carried onboard the space shuttle Endeavor.
The Boston based biotech company HepaLife Technologies announced today that its proprietary liver stem cell line is now aboard the space shuttle Endeavor as part of the “STS-126” scientific experiment which is designed to investigatge how stem cells differentiate and behave in the micro-gravity environment of outer space.
Already known for its development of the first-of-its-kind bioartificial liver device for the treatment of liver failure, HepaLife recently completed the largest ever human clinical trial for bioartificial liver assist devices. Now the company is also developing a proprietary PICM-19 liver stem cell line, which is currently being studied by NASA under the International Space Station National Laboratory Initiative.
According to Frank Menzler, president, CEO and chairman of HepaLife, “We are honored that America’s space program has selected HepaLife’s liver cells to be part of this important space mission. This event is testimony to the outstanding liver-like functionality of these cells and supports our long-held conviction that our patented PICM-19 cell line is a one-of-a-kind cellular model.”
HepaLife’s PICM-19 cell line is thus far the only stem cell line known to be able to differentiate into bile duct cells as well as hepatocytes, the two major cell types that constitute 98% of liver tissue. The PICM-19 cell line is thus ideally suited to the study of both bile duct and hepatocyte differentiation and function, in any type of environment, whether terrestrial or extraterrestrial.
Successfully launched on Friday, November 14, the space shuttle Endeavor is scheduled to return to earth at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center on November 29th.