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Forum highlights future of research aboard the International Space Station
Date:5/22/2014

crystals on the space station led to the discovery of a water molecule in a protein-inhibitor complex that now is being used to develop a treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the non-profit organization that manages the U.S. portion of the space station designated as a national laboratory, currently is coordinating other protein crystal growth investigations with potentially significant results. The Crystallization of Huntingtin Exon 1 Using Microgravity (CASIS PCG HDPCG-1) seeks to crystallize huntingtin, a protein associated with Huntington's disease. Meanwhile, the Advancing Membrane Protein Crystallization By Using Microgravity (CASIS PCG HDPCG-2) investigation seeks to crystallize the cystic fibrosis protein and closely related proteins to contribute to research for improved treatments for cystic fibrosis.

Past and future research using model organisms, such as plants, microbes like yeast or animals, advances knowledge about the influence of microgravity on cells. Taking these organisms to space allows for examination of growth and development and physiological, psychological and aging processes without the impact of gravity.

One such investigation, the Commercial Biomedical Testing Module (CBTM): Effects of Osteoprotegerin on Bone Maintenance in Microgravity studied mice on the space station to understand better a drug therapy for bone health and how it functions. The research showed that mice treated with osteoprotegerin exhibited decreased bone substance loss compared to untreated mice. The findings in orbit were combined with ground study data and included in a drug application to the Food and Drug Administration, resulting in the pharmaceutical Prolia, which is used to treat osteoporosis. Upcoming CASIS rodent research will provide pharmaceutical evaluation of muscle atrophy.

The recently developed geneLAB research platform greatly expands life science i
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Contact: Laura Niles
Laura.E.Niles@nasa.gov
281-244-7069
NASA/Johnson Space Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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