As we age, many changes occur in our bodies, some of them leading to health issues. Getting old makes our skin wrinkly, our hair thinner and our energy lower, but these are just some of the mild effects. In time, our systems may find it more and more challenging to complete the processes that keep us alive, leading to issues in our nervous system, cardiovascular system and more.
Scientists may have found a way to combat the destructive effects of aging with the help of specially designed particles, called nanoceria.
Nanoceria is tiny ceramic particles that can mimic the biological behavior of enzymes in living organisms. These nano antioxidants could represent a valuable asset in fighting muscle loss, heart failure, diabetes or Parkinson’s disease, protecting the human body from the damaged caused by oxidative stress. Scientists can use nanoceria to stimulate cells at the genetic level, hoping to slow down or even stop the damage aging does to our bodies. Repeated administration is not needed, as the antioxidant effects could last up to several weeks.
New Experiment Studies Nanoceria’s Effects On Human Cells In Space
Recently, a European team of scientists decided to take their study of nanoceria to the next level. On May 6, 2019, a SpaceX spacecraft destined for the International Space Station was launched from Cape Canaveral, US, carrying aboard samples of living cells and ceramic particles that will be held under observations in an incubator for six days, in space.
The samples are being stored at temperatures of approximately 30°C and researchers are eagerly waiting to observe the way space conditions like weightlessness, artificial gravity and radiation will affect the culture. An identical culture will be observed here on Earth, and the final results will be compared with the culture seen in space.
Experiments involving nanotechnology have been done many times on Earth, but the behavior of nanoparticles in space is still mostly unexplored, which is why this particular study could offer us revolutionary information. Previous experiments done on muscle cells and neurons proved that nanoceria could offer human cells the ability to regenerate repeatedly, for days in a row. This time, scientists are hoping the discoveries will help them develop new supplements to aid astronauts during long space missions. Their properties could also benefit elderly people on Earth.