Promising technologies for medical treatments -- enhanced by science experiments in space -- will be discussed by NASA representatives at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Md., Feb.14-16.
The Biophysical Society’s 43rd Annual Meeting will feature an exhibit highlighting NASA's biotechnology research efforts that may improve health care on Earth.
To advance scientific knowledge and develop new technologies to enhance the understanding of diseases, NASA-sponsored researchers grow protein crystals and cell cultures in near-weightlessness during Space Shuttle missions and ground experiments. Often, the crystals grow larger and have better structures than crystals grown on Earth.
Pure, precisely ordered protein crystals of large size are in high demand by researchers at universities and in the pharmaceutical industry.
Results from such space experiments and NASA’s Commercial Space Center Program include a new drug -- developed by BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Birmingham, Ala. -- that may be able to treat the flu, or influenza, which kills approximately 20,000 Americans each year and hospitalizes as many as 200,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga.
NASA’s cell culture experiments have led to new research models in cellular and molecular biology. The technology developed for space research has been used successfully at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., to study HIV, bacterium responsible for lyme disease and prostate cancer. NASA’s biotechnology research results also have provided advances in the understanding of heart disease, diabetes, respiratory syncytial virus and hepatitis.
NASA’s Biotechnology Research Program is led by the Microgravity Research Program at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
For more information or assistance, contact Steve Roy of the Marshall Center Media Relations Office at (256) 544-6535.
In-person interviews with NASA, industry and university researchers will be available at the conference. Please contact NASA representative Joy Gehr at the NASA Biotechnology Exhibit or call her pager at 1-800-732-9429.
The above story is based on materials provided by Marshall Space Flight Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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