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Students from UAB and UPC will experiment under microgravity conditions at the ESA
Date:1/21/2009

the two researchers have developed a specific protocol which with almost exact precision measures the activity of these molecules during each 20 second microgravity phase which will be repeated 30 times during the flight. The technical part of the experiment will be directed by Arnau Rabadn and consists of designing a mechanism which mixes biomedical fluid with ABC transporters inside a syringe in order to activate a chemical reaction. All of this must be done at the same temperature as the human body, at 37C. After the 20 second free fall the system will introduce a liquid into the syringe to freeze the mixture and prevent it from being affected by gravity until the moment of the next parabola.

This mechanism will be managed by a control system which marks the exact conditions of the experiment and the amount of liquids to be injected. The control system will include active elements, such as the engine that moves the syringes, and elements of supervision, such as the sensors that control the temperature of the syringe while the mixing is taking place.

The engineering, manufacturing and preparation phases will be monitored by Felip Fenollosa, professor of the UPC Department of Mechanical Engineering and assistant director of the CIM Foundation. The CIM Foundation is a leading technological centre belonging to UPC which focuses on the field of production technologies. It will be in charge of designing and building the experiment's mechanism. The first stage in developing this mechanism began in 2008 under Rosa Pmies, professor in Mechanical Engineering at UPC.

The results of this experiment will be useful in improving medical treatments for astronauts, and will help scientists better understand the assimilation mechanisms of drugs in general and the mechanisms of action of transporters in diseases such as cancer or AIDS.

Sergi Vaquer has worked as support doctor at the Medical Crew Support Office of the ESA European Astron
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Contact: Sergi Vaquer
34-620-797-877
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
Source:Eurekalert

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