Human follicular thyroid cancer cells were cultured in Space to investigate the impact of microgravity on 3D growth. For this purpose, we designed and constructed a cell container that can endure enhanced physical forces, is connected to fluid storage chambers, performs media changes and cell harvesting automatically and supports cell viability. The container consists of a cell suspension chamber, two reserve tanks for medium and fixative and a pump for fluid exchange. The selected materials proved durable, non-cytotoxic, and did not inactivate RNAlater. This container was operated automatically during the unmanned Shenzhou-8 Space mission. FTC-133 human follicular thyroid cancer cells were cultured in Space for 10 days. Culture medium was exchanged after 5 days in Space and the cells were fixed after 10 days. The experiment revealed a scaffold-free formation of extraordinary large three-dimensional aggregates by thyroid cancer cells with altered expression of EGF and CTGF genes under real microgravity.
Keywords: Apoptosis; Biocompatibility; Bioreactor; Growth factors; Polyetheretherketone; Thyroid cancer.
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