BENGALURU: From creating protective equipment to 3D printing meat, lifescience startups from Israel have found a relevance in the space sector by repurposing their products. Israeli firm Stemrad, which created a wearable belt for first responders that could protect bone marrow in case of nuclear exposure, is now developing products to be used on Mars.
The firm’s co-founder and CEO Oren Melstein said that the firm is collaborating with American behemoth Lockheed Martin to develop selective shielding technology and expand it to other organs such as the lungs, to protect it from solar radiation. He was addressing a session titled ‘Pivoting to Space: New opportunities for industry and government’ at the Bengaluru Tech Summit 2020 on Thursday.
In 2019, the vest was worn by several astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS), especially women - who are more sensitive to radiation. Next, the vest is likely to journey to the moon as part of the Artemis 1 mission where it will be tested for efficacy in protection from lunar radiation.
Regenerative medicine therapy firm Pluristem is leveraging placenta-based cell therapy products for use in space. Its director for business development Efrat Kaduri said they are evaluating the potential of the cells they are currently using in regular clinical development for the prevention and treatment of medical conditions caused by or during space missions.
However, there is a long way to go to prove the capability of the cells under microgravity, Kaduri said.
Pascal Rosenfeld, advisor for space programs at Aleph Farms, spoke about the company’s 3D printing technology which created real beef steaks from stem cells by mimicking natural processes in the womb of an animal.