Australian Scientists Have Found That Weightlessness Kills Cancer Cells - Alternative View
Australian Scientists Have Found That Weightlessness Kills Cancer Cells - Alternative View

Video: Australian Scientists Have Found That Weightlessness Kills Cancer Cells - Alternative View

Video: Australian Scientists Have Found That Weightlessness Kills Cancer Cells - Alternative View
Video: NTU scientists develop drug-free approach to kill cancer cells 2023, April

Our specialists are skeptical.

An unexpected discovery was recently shared by specialists from the University of Technology of Sydney. They stated that weightlessness kills cancer cells, and even cited encouraging experimental results: within 24 hours of being in a chamber simulating microgravity, 80–90 percent of ovarian, breast, nose and lung cancer cells died.

Oh, what started here on social networks: "Now we know exactly why we will fly into space!", "The sphere of space tourism will become the main medical hit!" etc. However, Russian cell biologists advised not to rush to overly optimistic conclusions. Deputy Director of the Institute for Biomedical Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Lyudmila BURAVKOVA explained when cancer cells really have a hard time and what can actually be expected from them in space orbit.

First, about the study of Australians. Referring to the mass of experiments on the ISS, which relate to the effect of low gravity on the body, they emphasized that the subtleties of how cancer cells behave in zero gravity remained unexplored until recently.

Researcher Joshua Chow decided to investigate the issue using a laboratory microgravity simulator. Together with his student, they subjected ovarian, breast, and nose cancer cells to weightlessness for 24 hours and found that this led to the death of 80 to 90% of these cells. Scientists believe that the reason for this was the breaking of cellular bonds, or the so-called mechanical unloading.

“I have to clarify that microgravity also affects other cells, such as bone, so astronauts lose bone mass,” explains Chow. But he notes that the effect of mechanical unloading turned out to be more destructive for cancer cells. Chow hopes to find out the reasons for this in real weightlessness - to the ISS, where he intends to send containers with tumor cells next year. They will be studied within a week and then released to Earth.

The researcher, of course, is not talking about sending sick people into orbit. At first, he promised to create a special medicine for them that simulates the mechanical effect of microgravity on Earth for cells.

- It is necessary to distinguish between in-vitro experiments, that is, those that are carried out with cells isolated from the body, - our expert comments. - Yes, we use them to study cellular and molecular effects, but cells in a human or animal body behave differently. They have other regulations - hormonal, nervous, etc. Therefore, the results of the experiment described above must be directly transferred to a person very carefully.

Promotional video:

Now - to the installation in which the experiment was carried out. There are two options for such devices: in the first, the cells rotate in a special vessel around the axis so that they do not sit on the bottom, being in suspension all the time; in the second, they are already "sitting" at the bottom of the bottle, and the researchers simply twist it so that the cells do not felt the vector of gravity, which is still on Earth. All this simulates the effect of weightlessness only partially. Scientists around the world are using these models to investigate microgravity problems.

As for the effect that our Australian friends got, I find it strange to report that 80–90% of cells die within 24 hours. In the IBMP, in the Cellular Physiology laboratory, we rotated tumor cells using similar equipment. Moreover, we sent them into space, and not just to understand: if they die, they will not die, but to what extent immune cells in space are able to find, recognize and kill tumor cells. Killer cells worked slightly better in space than on Earth, but tumor cells did not just die. Six experiments proved to us that weightlessness is critical on cancer cells, and on all others, does not work.

In addition to our experiments, we have data from hundreds of scientific articles on similar topics. Our colleagues, using the above-described model, rotated human and animal cells on the Earth in installations creating the effect of weightlessness; tumor, endothelial, osteoblasts. Who else has not done this! The result was the same for all: there is a slight decrease in cell viability at the first stage. Having tested the cells under weightlessness for longer - within 48 hours, 72 hours, 30 days - we realized that their viability does not decrease if we look a little further. Recently in Germany, my colleagues and I discussed cellular effects and agreed: to get to the truth, you need to look at the dynamics. Cells successfully adapt to weightlessness over time at the genetic level.

Meanwhile, scientists have a legitimate concern about the formation of tumors in space. This is what needs to be investigated now. In our country, thank God, long flights do not lead to such diseases (however, astronauts are selected for them in good health), but there are longer flights with stronger radiation exposure ahead, the consequences of which we need to understand a lot in advance.

Natalia Vedeneeva

Popular by topic