Plans to make cutting-edge cancer drugs in space

Space tourism has an audience limited by income, but there's a new proposal in the works that could help countless earthbound humans. Wired's Grace Browne reports that a company called BioOrbit has plans to manufacture cancer-fighting immunotherapy drugs in zero gravity.

Immunotherapy drugs are currently administered through intravenous drips, a painful and prolonged process. If the drug proteins could be crystallized, the medicine would have higher concentrations at a lower volume, making easy, at-home injections possible.

BioOrbit founder Katie King has a PhD in nanomedicine, and has also had it up to here with a select few billionaires turning space into their private playpen: "I always had this belief that space should be used to help those on Earth," King says.With funding from the European Space Agency, BioOrbit will run tests on the International Space Station in 2025, and hopes to partner with a pharmaceutical company for future experiments.

King is happy for her team's venture to serve as a guinea pig for how this all might work, because she wants it to work. "There is so much benefit that microgravity can give to life science research, drug development, cancer research—and more that we just don't know yet," says King.

If humans can put a car in space, a lab for life-saving drugs seems like a no-brainer.

Previously: NASA procedure for nuts in space