Carruthers accepted his award on behalf of the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) for their facilitation of research to study the growth of protein crystals in the microgravity environment as part of Protein Crystal Growth-1 (PCG-1). Aboard the space station, these crystals, which relate to various diseases, viruses and more, grow more perfectly than on Earth. This gives researchers a more precise mapping of the crystals and may reveal the hidden nature of the proteins. This knowledge then can aid in developing pharmaceuticals for treatments.
"This award reinforces CASIS' and NASA's commitment in supporting researchers and companies like NanoRacks that are developing novel microgravity technologies and methods on the space station that could benefit humanity on Earth or for future space exploration," said Carruthers. "Microgravity protein crystal growth is not guaranteed to work for every protein, but there are many examples where it has been an effective technique. NanoRacks now provides researchers the option to try microgravity protein crystal growth with an easy to use, cost effective and expedient method."
Although the pathway from microgravity results to medicine cabinets operates on a decadal scale, Carruthers notes this research has the potential to touch the lives of many on Earth. "Almost everyone at some point of their life will take a prescription medicine, whether it's something for daily aches and pains or if they are battling a life threatening disease," said Carruthers. "The efficacy of these treatments are directly linked with how much we understand, at a molecular level, the manner in which they work, and that kind of knowledge comes directly from high quality structural data. While we understand a lot, we currently have many blind-spots in our comprehension that can possibly be filled with quality structures obtained or supplemented with improved dat
|Contact: Laura Niles|
NASA/Johnson Space Center