3DBM (3-Dimensional Bronchial Mucosa)
The 3-Dimensional Bronchial Mucosa (3dBM) is one of in total three biological experiments accepted by ESA (European Space Agency). The prime hardware developer is OHB, Germany and CIRiS as OHB partner, is responsible for the development of the 3dBM experiment unique equipment.
3dBM is a biological experiment aiming at investigating the influence of microgravity on lung cells (Bronchial Mucosa) with special emphasis on differentiation of ciliated and goblet cells, focusing on cilia structure and function, mucus production, tissue stress responses, and antimicrobial peptide production.
Human Bronchial Mucosa tissue will be harvested on ground from healthy persons and mounted inside the Experiment Unique Equipment (EUE) in 4 Advanced Experiment Containers (AEC). The AECs will be launched and installed into the BIOLAB incubator in the Columbus module upon arrival to ISS. The Bronchial Mucosa cells will be cultivated at 37 °C in microgravity from 1-70 days and sampling (18 samples per AEC) will take place at the following time points (T= 0, 2 weeks, 6 weeks and 10 weeks), one time point per AEC. All samples will be brought back to ground for various analyses.
CIRiS is responsible for developing 6 cultivation chambers (CCs) per AEC, for a total of 24 CCs for the entire experiment run in addition to the operating system involving the following: A medium supply system will deliver fresh medium to the cells every 48 hours during the entire experiment run. At each sampling point, 3 automated operations are initiated: 1) the conditioned medium is collected into separate containers, 2) PBS is flushed over the cells and conditioned PBS is collected inside separate containers and finally, 3) the cells are fixated with either Glutaraldehyde or RNAlater. Post fixation, crew will retrieve the AEC from BIOLAB, open it in a glovebox, and extract the 2 CCs fixated with Glutaraldehyde for cold stowage at 4 °C, and the 4 CCs fixated with RNAlater, conditioned medium and conditioned PBS samples for cold stowage at -80 °C.
The first milestone (critical design review) was successfully completed and accepted by ESA in summer 2021. In January 2022, the first Science Model was built and assembled and will be tested at OHB premises in Germany during March 2022. The launch for the experiment is foreseen in 2023.