The basis for Endonovo’s Time-Varying Electromagnetic Field (TVEMF) technology was created at NASA in conjunction with the development of cell therapies to treat injuries and diseases that astronauts might encounter during long term manned missions in outer space.
The original concept of TVEMF was developed when NASA realized that cellular growth increased as the space shuttle crossed the earth’s magnetic poles. It took over eight years to define and develop a device that produced the same effect. This magnetic field device (TVEMF) was originally designed to enhance cellular expansion (growth) in NASA’s rotating wall bioreactor. After numerous experimental studies, the results were so significant with the bioreactor that a prototype was designed for use directly on the human body.
Moving Beyond the Petri Dish
Cells grown in Petri dishes cannot form complex 3D tissues because they tend to sink within their growth mediums. This posed a limitation on researchers studying how tissues form inside the body.
In the 1970’s, a small group at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) began to think about outer space as a possible answer. Researchers at JSC theorized that if cells could be grown without the influence of the earth’s gravity, they would not sink to the bottom of the culture container; rather, they would stay suspended in the medium and therefore might assemble and form tissue that more closely resembles tissue in the body.
NASA Bioreactor Simulates Microgravity on Earth
NASA researchers developed a soup can-sized bioreactor that spun on its side, preventing cells from sinking to the bottom by maintaining a continuously free-falling state through the culture media. The bioreactor was able to simulate microgravity on earth, providing researchers with the ability to study how tissues form in the body three-dimensionally. The original goal was to attempt tissue growth on Space Shuttle missions. However, the Challenger disaster in 1986 resulted in the grounding of NASA’s space fleet. Subsequently, NASA researchers switched their efforts to creating a culturing device that simulated some aspects of microgravity on earth.
Experiments in Outer Space
NASA researchers conducted multiple experiments using the bioreactor aboard STS-70, STS-85 and STS-90.
- During STS-70 in 1995, researchers tested the performance of the bioreactor in microgravity using colon cancer cells. The cells were able to aggregate and form masses 10 mm in diameter. These masses were 30 times the volume of those grown in the control experiment on the ground.
- During STS-85 in 1997, researchers repeated the experiment using colon cancer cells and again, mature, differentiated tissue samples were grown. This confirmed previous results – microgravity is an environment beneficial to cell culture and tissue growth.
- During STS-90 in 1998, human renal tubular cells were cultured in the bioreactor for 6 days. Researchers compared the activity of 10,000 genes in the flight and ground cultures and identified several of the control genes for differentiation and three-dimensional tissue formation.
Earth’s Magnetic Field Influences Cell GrowthEarly on, as NASA researchers analyzed data from their experiments aboard the Space Shuttle, they discovered that cells were growing at an increased rate when passing over the earth’s magnetic poles; suggesting that the earth’s magnetic field was influencing cell growth.
Additionally, several growth factors and cytokines were upregulated in the bioreactor during cellular expansions.
NASA Researchers Add Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields to Bioreactor
Initially, NASA researchers could not replicate the cell growth achieved aboard the Space Shuttle. NASA was using basic sine waves, which could not produce the same effect.
Over the subsequent eight years, researchers experimented with multiple waveforms, frequencies, and slew rates and found the square waveform was able to help deliver the required results and allowed NASA to identify the exact magnetic field format that increased cell growth 400% and upregulated over 200 growth factors and cytokines (G-CSF, GM-CSF, IL-2) in the rotating wall bioreactor.
It was determined that a square waveform with a low frequency (5-10 Hz) and a very rapid slew rate provided optimized results for cellular expansion.
Shifting Away from Stem Cell Transplants
After achieving astounding results with the TVEMF-bioreactor, NASA researchers began to explore whether the effects of TVEMF on cell growth and growth factor production could be done inside the body.
The basic idea was to create a device that could stimulate the body to mobilize and expand stem cells and then promote their homing to the sites of injury without having to extract stem cells from patients, expand the stem cells in vitro and then re-inject the expanded stem cells into the patient for the treatment.
The goal of the TVEMF device is to mitigate many of the problems that current stem cell treatments face, such as the use of drugs to mobilize stem cells and the use of external growth factors and genetic manipulation for stem cell expansion.