The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, better known as NASA, recently announced a new agreement with GRoK Technologies LLC that may eventually make some invasive medical treatments a thing of the past. According to a press release published earlier this month, the government agency has signed two patent license agreements with GRoK Technologies, enabling GRoK scientists to help develop innovative biotechnological tools that could have application both on Earth and in space. The announcement paves the way for new technologies that could potentially lead to the development of medical devices that would help regenerate muscles and bones noninvasively.
GRoK Technologies, a Houston based biotech company dedicated to “transforming human insight into life science,” will now be able to utilize the patented technologies in two main areas. The first platform, called BioReplicates, may sound like some sort of radical cloning device but in fact enables users to test products like cosmetics and drugs for safety using synthesized three-dimensional human tissue models. The hope is that this proprietary process will be more accurate and cost-effective than current models while reducing industry reliance on live animal testing. Future models of the BioReplicate technology could also help regenerate tissue, making Star Trek’s super cool dermal regenerator look positively commonplace by comparison.
GRoK’s second technology, Scionic, could pave the way for the development of revolutionary medical devices that would have the ability to target pain and inflammation in both humans and animals noninvasively and without pharmaceutical drugs. A similar technology currently exists in the Russian-based SCENAR biofeedback device, which emits electrical impulses that stimulate the body’s internal healing powers. SCENAR is commonly used by health practitioners to help relieve stress and inflammation while promoting natural, non-invasive pain management.
The agreement between NASA and GRoK, a result of the agency’s Technology Transfer Program, helps bring research and technology to the public arena. Although NASA’s announcement highlights interest in the technologies’ muscle and bone regeneration potential (and its application in supporting astronauts whose long spaceflights may put them at higher risk for developing a low bone density condition called osteopenia), they also report enthusiasm around what the technologies could mean for the medical and science industries. “This partnership will further enhance NASA’s ability to share the unique breakthroughs made in space-based research,” said Yolanda Marshall, NASA’s director of the Strategic Opportunities and Partnership Development Office in Houston.
Many remain enthused by the research’s potential Trekky-like application. “”It’s not just science fiction anymore,” explained Moshe Kushman, the CEO and founder of GRoK Technologies. “GRoK is working to define the forefront of a new scientific wave.”
Regardless of the final outcome, the agency’s announcement around the new technologies and their potential muscle and bone regeneration application reflects an exciting evolution of scientific research. The agreement between NASA and GRoK opens up major opportunities to bring futuristic biotechnical approaches into the commercial sector. The research taking place today continues to push the edge of science and technology, and the work being done by the GRoK team may help those around the globe “live long and prosper” in the not-too-distant future.
By Katie Bloomstrom
RITM SCENAR Institute