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Brainstorm Health: Stem Cells in Space, CVS Stock Plunge, Merck Setback

February 20, 2019, 8:56 PM UTC

Hello and happy hump day, readers.

Biopharma can come across as having otherworldly ambitions. So why not take matters, literally, to outer space?

That’s what Israel-based Pluristem Therapeutics is hoping to do via a collaboration with NASA. The biotech, which focuses on developing stem cell therapy products, is partnering with the space agency’s Ames Research center to see whether or not its experimental PLX cell therapies could help treat and prevent various medical conditions that may arise during space missions, according to a press release.

Specifically, Pluristem wants to test out whether or not its treatments can help alleviate the kind of muscle loss and cardiovascular effects of living in extreme conditions like microgravity.

“During space missions astronauts are exposed to a challenging environment which includes radiation and microgravity, leading to muscle and bone loss as well as other potentially serious medical conditions,” said Dr. Ruth Globus of NASA’s Ames Research Center in a statement.

It sounds like the stuff of science fiction. But this isn’t even the first major collaboration between NASA and biopharmaceutical companies. In fact, pharma giants like Merck and others have been conducting experiments on the ISS’ U.S. National Lab for years in order to better understand the effect of microgravity on drug development and delivery, with the ultimate hope of improving manufacturing methods and efficacy.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee


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Produced by Sy Mukherjee
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