Monthly Archives: March 2016

NASA Announces Plans for New Medical Frontier Challenge

DATE: 3-4-13 LOCATION: Bldg. 7, SSATA Chamber SUBJECT: STB-ST-990 - Crew Training, SSATA ISS Increment 36 EMU Dry Run (Crewmember Luca Parmitano). PHOTOGRAPHER: Lauren Harnett

NASA WANTS YOUR HELP

NASA is carrying forward its mission to reach out to new frontiers with the announcement today of plans for a “Vascular Tissue Challenge”, a $500,000 prize to be given to the team who can first develop vascular thick tissue that will lay the basis for treatments ranging everywhere from new tissue for burn victims to 3-D organ printing, and providing new organs for all who might need them, when they need them.

NASA has always reached beyond the limits of today. In the early 1960s, then U.S. President John F Kennedy issued a challenge to the science community to land a man on the moon and return him safely to the earth by the end of the decade. Think for a moment of the world in which President  Kennedy issued that challenge: less than 2 decades since jet propulsion had come into use, in which a journey to the moon seemed impossible. Only 60 years had passed from the first  Wright brothers flight at Kitty Hawk! But when Neil Armstrong laid the first human footprint on the moon’s surface on July 21st, 1969, the seeming impossible had become reality because forward-looking, brave men and women refused to accept false limitations in what they could accomplish.

Just as they did a generation ago, brave men and women at NASA and in the medical research community are looking forward to accomplishing what has been thought impossible: the creation of tissue and organs for all who in need.

As with the moon shot, what seemed a giant task is believed to be within reach.  To quote NASA’s website:

Developing this capability will enable new research initiatives that may bring real solutions to organ disease, skin burns and other medical concerns. NASA’s objective for this challenge is to produce viable thick-tissue assays above and beyond the current state of the art technology that can be used to advance research on human physiology, fundamental space biology, and medicine taking place both on the Earth and the ISS National Laboratory. Specifically, innovations may enable the growth of de novo tissues and organs on orbit which may address the risks related to traumatic bodily injury, improve general crew health, and enhance crew performance on future, long-duration mission.

NASA is inviting your feedback.  They would like to hear your thoughts on the rules, goals and competition parameters.  They would also like to hear the input of potential competitors for this prize as they look to move forward in the research and planning phase.  You can find the proposed rules and information HERE.

The Methuselah Foundation has the opportunity to work closely in the operation of this challenge.  Stay tuned for more in-depth information on what promises to be one of the most exciting medical prize challenges yet!

Be sure to look at projects the Methuselah Foundation has in progress!  Learn more about other Methuselah Foundation work including the Liver Prize,  our Bowhead Whale Study, the Methuselah Mouse Prize and more HERE.