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Anti-ageing experiments in outer space planned
M.Dinesh Varma

CHENNAI: Evolving futuristic immunotherapy protocols for cancers and carrying out satellite-based anti-ageing experiments on stem cells in outer space are among the goals set by a recently inked Indo-Japanese research initiative.

Under an memorandum of understanding signed at Fukuoka in Japan between Chennai-based institute Nichi-In Centre for Regenerative Medicine (NCRM) and Astec, a Japanese developer of high end stem cells, the collaboration will also develop and standardise devices for zero gravity cell culture to study the effects of age-related damages for application in anti-ageing treatment.

“We expect the tie-up to further strengthen our capabilities in Autologous Immune Enhancement Therapy (AIET) for cancer in which patients’ own Natural Killer (NK) cells and T-Lymphocytes are used to destroy cancer cells,” said Samuel Abraham, NCRM Director.

Among the cutting edge products that the Japanese firm has developed, what should excite NCRM scientists the most is the prospect of carrying out anti-ageing experiments in a zero-gravity environment in space using remote, three dimensional image monitoring of cells.

Scientists say that as one of the physical parameters that is not changeable on earth is gravity, anti-ageing studies that examined the effects of age-related damages in stem cells, had to involve sending samples to space in a satellite.

These cells are then made to grow in an environment free from gravity and monitored from earth with scientists enabled to remote control the lab conditions.

“In the long term, this could pave way for zero gravity stem cell culture experiments in the space, which have been found to have beneficial effects in preventing age-related damages,” said Dr.Abraham.

The memorandum was signed between Dr.Abraham and Takayuki Emura, Astec president, in the presence of Yoshio Morozumi, Nichi-In group.

- Courtesy The Hindu, 2nd June 2009 issue.
*"Nichi" stands for Japan and "In" stands for India. This institute started on an Indo-Japan collaboration now has spreaded further with global alliances
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