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National Stem Cell Foundation in Washington DC for ISS R&D Conference

28th July 2022

National Stem Cell Foundation in Washington, D.C. for ISS Research and Development Conference; Will Discuss Neurodegeneration Research Underway in Space

The national organization, headquartered in Kentucky, partnered with Lexington-based Space Tango to send cells to space for Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis research.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (July 28, 2022) – Nearly two weeks after the Louisville-based National Stem Cell Foundation launched its fourth study of neurodegeneration in microgravity to the International Space Station (ISS), CEO Paula Grisanti is participating this week in a panel discussion about leveraging the ISS for in-space production and research at the 11th annual ISS Research and Development Conference in Washington, D.C. This first-in-kind study, a bi-coastal collaboration between leading experts in the fields of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and multiple sclerosis (MS), uses organoids, 3-D aggregates of cells from PD and primary progressive MS patients that mimic the central nervous system, and microglia, the immune cells that have been recognized as playing a role in neurodegeneration. The project launched July 14 from Cape Canaveral on the SpaceX-25 Commercial Resupply Mission for NASA.

Hosted by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and the American Astronautical Society (AAS), the ISS Research and Development Conference brings together leaders from the commercial sector, U.S. government agencies, and academic communities to foster innovation and discovery on the ISS.

“The ability to observe cells interacting in microgravity in a way not possible on Earth may provide valuable insight into how these disorders develop, accelerate biomarker discovery for early diagnosis, and open the door to new cell and drug therapy options for millions worldwide diagnosed with these neurodegenerative disorders and others,” said Grisanti.

The National Stem Cell Foundation partnered with Lexington-based space flight provider Space Tango to support the transport of cells to the ISS for all four flights. Data from the three previous flights will be published later this year.

“With increased access to the microgravity environment, Space Tango’s partnership with the National Stem Cell Foundation demonstrates the opportunity to drive discovery for human health applications on Earth,” said Dr. Alain Berinstain, Space Tango Chief Strategy Officer. “We continue to widen the pathway to unearth answers for humanity’s greatest health challenges.”

NSCF’s bi-coastal team of leading experts includes Drs. Valentina Fossati, Scott Noggle and Davide Marotta at the New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute and NSCF Senior Scientific Advisor Dr. Jeanne Loring, Professor Emeritus at Scripps Research in San Diego, California. The project is managed by NSCF Senior Advisor Jana Stoudemire, Director of In-Space Manufacturing at Axiom Space. Loring, one of the world’s foremost PD authorities, sent her own cells into space as part of the control arm for this study.

About the National Stem Cell Foundation
The National Stem Cell Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that funds adult stem and regenerative medicine research, underwrites the National STEM Scholar Program for middle school science teachers nationwide, and covers copays and deductibles for children of limited means participating in clinical trials for rare diseases. For more information, visit

About Space Tango
Space Tango is an industry leader in automated systems in the pursuit of health and technology manufacturing in microgravity. Since 2017 through a NASA Space Act Agreement, Space Tango provides facilities to support iterative R&D and manufacturing on the International Space Station, suborbital vehicles, and future commercial space stations. Through an integrated and intuitive approach, Space Tango works alongside their diverse partner-base to embrace pathways to on-orbit production yielding valuable and transformational solutions for humanity.