KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), November 30, 2023 – How could studying liquid drops of protein solution in space help solve an Achilles’ heel in medicine production on Earth? Find out in the latest issue of Upward, official magazine of the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory.
Protein-based therapeutics treat and prevent a wide range of conditions, from cancer to HIV, but protein clumping during manufacturing is a problem. Finding a way to avoid or reverse clumping could remove a major roadblock, but studying the complex motion of proteins in solution on Earth is difficult. This is because the proteins interact with the walls of the container holding the solution, which affects their behavior.
In the microgravity environment on the space station, researchers from Arizona State University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute did something impossible on Earth—they studied protein solutions without a container. In the absence of gravity, the liquid forms into a floating, self-contained sphere, allowing the team to study protein motion in new ways and create models to better understand the factors that lead to protein clumping.
Learn more about this exciting investigation in the most recent issue of Upward, which is dedicated to communicating the results of space station experiments that demonstrate the value of space-based research and development. Read the article “A Small Drop With a Big Impact” to see how studying spherical drops of liquid protein in microgravity could help lead to valuable improvements in therapeutic manufacturing.
Download the high-resolution image for this release: ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti
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About the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory: The International Space Station (ISS) is a one-of-a-kind laboratory that enables research and technology development not possible on Earth. As a public service enterprise, the ISS National Lab allows researchers to leverage this multiuser facility to improve life on Earth, mature space-based business models, advance science literacy in the future workforce, and expand a sustainable and scalable market in low Earth orbit. Through this orbiting national laboratory, research resources on the ISS are available to support non-NASA science, technology and education initiatives from U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space™ (CASIS™) manages the ISS National Laboratory®, under Cooperative Agreement with NASA, facilitating access to its permanent microgravity research environment, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied conditions of space. To learn more about the ISS National Lab, visit www.ISSNationalLab.org.
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