One small South Florida Company with a funny name will be watching NASA's launch of STS-135, Space Shuttle "Atlantis," with more than the usual interest this coming Friday, July 8th, 2011. Miami Fat Supply, (funny name, serious business) was chosen to supply a rather unique payload for this historic last-ever shuttle flight to the International Space Station - human fat, from which stem cells are derived to study the effects of regenerative therapies on astronauts who experience muscle and organ atrophy when exposed to long periods of zero gravity.
Tissue Genesis Inc. of Honolulu Hawaii, an early pioneer of stem cell research is the sponsor of this ground breaking study. TGI was selected by the Dept. of Defense to conduct this particular experiment. This is TGI's 19th shuttle payload involving regenerative cell research.
According to Mark Jordan, owner of Miami Fat Supply, "Five separate adipose (fat) tissue samples were harvested by Alberto Sant Antonio MD of Weston FL over a two week period. The specimens were delivered by courier to the TGI lab at Kennedy Space Center and cultured prior to launch. After careful screening, 300cc's of fat was taken from the abdomen of each patient, two men and three women."
"Researchers and doctors alike are very excited about the future of stem cell therapies, since the belief is it will change the way doctors practice medicine, providing cures, rather than just treating symptoms," said Dr Sant Antonio.
Jordan added, "Having worked with Dr. Sant Antonio for almost 3 years now we have been honored to supply close to 500 fat specimens to TGI and their various stem cell research partners around the country. However, I am doubly honored since I was selected to be Donor # 5 in this, the last Space Shuttle launch, ever. Too cool!"
Didn't someone once say, "One small step for man's fat, one large leap for man's cures?"