Porto researchers selected for European Space Agency programme

in News · 26-01-2020 14:00:00 · 0 Comments

A team of young researchers from the Institute for Research and Innovation in Health (i3S) was selected for a programme by the European Space Agency (ESA) and will "evaluate the effect of hypergravity on intestinal permeability"

"We will evaluate different severities and compare with the control (results obtained on a daily basis) to see if there are differences in intestinal absorption", said Helena Macedo, one of the four PhD students who is now part of the "Spin Your Thesis!" from the ESA Academy.

Speaking to Lusa, the young woman explained that the objective of the team, entitled 'Artemis', is to test the effect of hypergravity on the absorption of two drugs, one for the treatment of diabetes and the other anticancer.

"We are going to use these drugs inside nanoparticles to understand the extent to which, by applying hypergravity, the drugs will pass better or worse through the intestine. Although there is no literature on the effect of hypergravity on the intestinal epithelium, we believe they will be better absorbed", she said.

According to Helena Macedo, the team will use 'in vitro' models that "mimic the intestinal epithelium" to test the nanoparticles it has been developing and thus, to understand the influence of gravity on absorption, and the tests will be carried out in the Large Diameter Centrifuge (LDC) which "simulates the gravitational force to values ??20 times higher than those experienced on the Earth's surface".

To Lusa, the young woman said that during this month the team will travel to the European Space Education and Safety Centre (ESEC), in Belgium to hold some workshops, and the centrifuge tests should take place in September, at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), in the Netherlands.

"Although there are already centrifuges for certain treatments, we will not be able to subject people to gravity. Basically, this is another proof of concept for who knows, a later day, when we, or other researchers, can understand how these tests can be applied to the clinic", he concluded.

The programme "Spin Your Thesis!" of the European Space Agency Academy aims to provide masters and doctoral students with the opportunity to design and test their hypergravity experiences in the Large Diameter Centrifuge.


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