Can artificial cells be made?
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Research in progress at the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) is focused on cells as a means to deliver medicine in outer space; these cells are able to withstand dehydration and thus can be safely stored for long periods. Artificial cells are made of a polymer that acts like a cell membrane, but the polymer is stronger and more manageable than real membranes. These polymers are called polymersomes and can be made to cross-link with other polymers. Researchers think that many different kinds of molecules can be encapsulated within these polymersomes and then delivered to specific target organs. An example would be an artificial blood cell that not only delivers oxygen but also medication.