In a groundbreaking experiment, scientists unveiled some shocking results – microgravity destroys cancer cells. However, the Australian researchers from the University of Technology Sydney, who conducted the new study, explored the potential of zero gravity on killing cancer cells in the lab, on Earth.
The next step the scientists plan to take is to send cancer cells in space and measure the results of real microgravity on them. The results of the research conduct by Australian scientists confirm initial results obtained earlier by a group of German researchers.
“A lot of people around me started getting cancer, and that really motivated me to investigate cancer cells. There’s no way we can develop a silver bullet cure for cancer because everyone’s cancer is different, and people react differently. But what I really wanted to know was: is there something these cancers have in common? That’s why I put them in the microgravity device,” said Joshua Chou from the University of Technology Sidney.
Microgravity kills cancer cells via the so-called “programmed cell death”
According to the scientists, between 80% and 90% of cancer cells involved in breast, ovary, lungs, and nose cancer types died within 24 hours when exposed to microgravity conditions. Now, the researchers want to send cancer cell to space.
“We want to see if it is actually microgravity that’s having an effect on the cell, or could it be other things in space — like solar radiation? We’ve had to develop a lot of these technologies ourselves. The engineering is already challenging, but actually keeping the cells alive and retrieving them from space will be really difficult,” Chou added.
But the first to send cancer cells to space and explore the results of zero gravity on them were German scientists led by Daniela Grimm from the University of Magdeburg, in Germany, in 2017. The recent study’s outcomes confirmed the initial results of the German researchers. According to both studies, microgravity destroys cancer cells via the so-called “programmed cell death,” which is also involved in killing old cells in the body to make room for new cells.