EL SEGUNDO, Calif., April 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A longtime engineer at Wyle's Houston-based operations has been inducted in the Space Technology Hall of Fame for his participation in developing a bioreactor, which enables the growth of tissue, cancer tumors and virus cultures outside the body, both in space and on Earth.
Dr. Tinh Trinh, a senior mechanical engineer and 26-year employee at Wyle's Integrated Science and Engineering Group supporting NASA's manned space program, was inducted during this week's 27th National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Lab-grown cell cultures tend to be small, flat and two-dimensional, unlike normal cultures. But tissues grown in the bioreactor are larger and three-dimensional, with structural and chemical characteristics similar to normal tissue. And the bioreactor has no internal moving parts, thus minimizing any forces that might damage the delicate cell cultures.
The bioreactor, built by Wyle for NASA, has been used for experiments in space aboard the space shuttle, the Russian Mir Space Station and on Earth. Researchers across the United States are using this technology to study cancer, stem cells, diabetes, cartilage and nerve growth and infectious disease.
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health used the methods to propagate the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, in artificial lymph node tissue. This research resulted in the ability to study the virus life cycle under controlled conditions outside of the human body.
The bioreactor is a spinoff technology that made its way into the commercial world through Synthecon licensing and commercializing it in 1993. Regenetech Inc. licensed 11 patents from JSC in 2001 to produce three-dimensional tissues in the bioreactor and focused on modifications to the bioreactor to develop its own Intrifuge System and intellectual property known as CellXpansion so it could produce expanded cell tissues for specific research. This tech
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