ARC Innovation Center, the spearhead of Sheba’s technological excellence, was established nearly three years ago to accelerate innovation and lead to game-changing healthcare solutions aimed at redesigning healthcare. And now, ARC researchers are set to break another boundary – space. Last week saw the inauguration of the new ARC Space Lab, which will enable Sheba’s scientists to conduct experiments and medical research under the unique conditions of space.
It was around a year ago that Sheba’s first foray into space research began with the launch of Dido III, a nanosatellite developed in collaboration with the Israeli Space Agency, the Italian Space Agency, and Space Pharma. Sheba’s scientists used the satellite to test a theory that may help alleviate the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
According to Dr. Harel Baris, Head of the ARC Space Lab: “Space research promises a lot of opportunities to advance medicine: from gaining a greater understanding of biological and physiological processes that occur when human bodies adapt to microgravity conditions to developing innovative telemedicine capabilities.”
Sheba’s next space research initiative is already underway, and will culminate in the ‘Rakia’ space mission – a collaboration with The Ramon Foundation and the Israel Space Agency to send the second Israeli ever, Eytan Stibbe, into space as part of the first private mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The mission, set to take off in February 2022, will feature a variety of experiments aimed at promoting medical innovation.
The experiments will include an examination of how space travel affects the ocular system, an observation of the different aspects of a space traveler’s immune system, a study on the impact of microgravity on blood-brain barrier permeability and its potential for future Alzheimer’s disease treatment, an assessment of systemic states using multispectral imaging of the anterior chamber of the eye, a study of T-cell activation in space, an exploration of transcriptomic changes causing bacterial enhanced virulence and antibiotic resistance in space microgravity, and an investigation of the behavior of the urinary microbiome.
According to Prof. Eyal Zimlichman, Deputy Director General, Chief Medical Officer, and Chief Innovation Officer at Sheba Medical Center: “At Sheba, we are very proud of the breakthrough research our scientists are conducting for the advancement of medicine. Medical innovation in space will allow us to fulfill our ambitions for the future of medicine.”
“The Rakia mission fulfills a lifelong dream I’ve had to combine medicine and space,” added Prof. Yitshak Kreiss, Director General of Sheba Medical Center. “I can think of nothing else that inspires humanity and sparks the imagination more than space.”