One doctor at Rutgers is developing wound healing technology to be used during space travel.
In laboratories all across the globe, scientists are uncovering new and exciting breakthroughs in the realm of wound healing.
For instance, a team out of Texas is blinding bacteria to prevent their spread. Meanwhile, a collective of doctors from the U.K. recently developed some intriguing new vacuum tech to treat chronic ulcers. There’s even been research into drug treatments, like how opioids may actually prevent proper wound care.
Each team has taken a different approach or tackled a unique situation or medical ailment, and that ensures a more well-rounded coverage that helps a larger pool of patients. However, few scientists have a more grand scope than Ronke Olabisi, a professor of biomedical engineering at Rutgers University.
Reaching for the stars
As the university explained in a recent press release, Olabisi is hard at work on several projects aimed at improving wound healing both on earth and during manned space missions. During space travel, especially as astronauts spend months at a time in stations, the lack of gravity has a huge impact on the human body. Muscle and bones will actually start to deteriorate, and tissues will lose much of their elasticity. Olabisi’s main goal is to study in-depth why this occurs and how to fix, and she believes she can apply much of the same knowledge to wound care on Earth.
As part of that larger aim, Olabisi is at work on several different sub-projects, including finding new ways to engineer longer lasting, more durable tissue as well as replace body parts like the retina and most muscles. Reduced gravity also has the side effect of slowing down wound healing, often accelerating delays that are inherent with the process. One of the more exciting concepts that Olabisi is working on is a unique system that traps certain chemical compounds. By collecting things like insulin, adult stem cells and certain proteins, this system can heal wounds in record time. Plus, the apparatus can be stored in deep freeze, which makes it perfect for use during space missions.
Olabisi and company also have quite the pronounced interest in improving treatment of certain retinal disorders. Specifically, they’re look at the Bruch’s membrane, a barrier around the eye that protects it from immune cells. This membrane breaks down easily due to aging, so Olabisi wants to develop an artificial scaffolding to help maintain the Bruch’s membrane.
Ultimately, Olabisi’s work is part of the larger 100 Year Starship project, which wants to develop interstellar travel by the early 2100s.
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