Space-Based Medicine

Since 2014, CAST has facilitated space-based medicine research, primarily with our partners at the Mayo Clinic Space Medicine Program, through the full range of spaceflight opportunities including high altitude balloon, parabolic flight, suborbital launch, and orbital flight on board ISS.

CAST is focused on contributing to space-based research that might have global health implications for the Earth-bound populace. In particular, an understanding of cell processes and characteristics in the environment of microgravity is a promising area of discovery and application.

Applied space-based research on the impact of reduced gravity on human stem cell expansion, efficacy, and viability might be translated into clinical applications in a wide range of fields including, but not limited to stroke, diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and the spectrum of cancers. Exploiting specific characteristics of stem cells in microgravity may also have far-ranging impacts on drug development and personalized medicine.

In the last ten years, CAST has facilitated significant space-based medicine research incorporating parabolic, high altitude balloon, suborbital, and orbital flight including ground-breaking regenerative medicine investigations conducted by a research team from the Mayo Clinic performed on board the International Space Station.

These investigations performed in the environment of microgravity, might translate into novel clinical applications in numerous medical fields as well as lead to more effective drug therapies and the advancement of tissue engineering and ultimately organogenesis.