KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL. (October 3, 2013) – The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, which was selected by NASA in July 2011 to maximize use of the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory, today announced an agreement with Kentucky Space LLC to facilitate biomedical research on the ISS.
Dr. Mahendra Jain, principal investigator for Kentucky Space, has proposed an experiment to study regeneration in planarians, which are flatworms capable of rebuilding body organs and nervous systems after damage. In partnership with Dr. Michael Levin of Tufts University, Jain will examine the effects of the space environment on these enhanced healing abilities.
Gravity, and the lack thereof, influences the way cells behave and their ability to rebuild tissue. Studying planarians in space may reveal new aspects of how cells rebuild tissue, which could lead to breakthroughs in medical treatments for humans. For example, regenerative medicine has the potential to treat conditions like Parkinson’s, heart disease or lost limbs.
“CASIS is excited to forge a partnership with Kentucky Space,” said CASIS Research Pathway Manager Dr. Michael Roberts. “Regenerative research in model organisms in microgravity may yield incredible benefits to accelerate the treatment of human disease and injury, improving life on Earth and creating a foundation for additional inquiry to better understand the more debilitating conditions we as humans face.”
CASIS evaluates unsolicited proposals on a regular basis for scientific and economic merit and potential impact. In some instances, CASIS can provide funding to assist highly qualified research to be performed on the ISS U.S. National Laboratory.
For additional information about unsolicited proposals, including instructions on submitting research ideas, visit: www.iss-casis.org/Opportunities/UnsolicitedProposals.aspx
The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) was selected by NASA in July 2011 to maximize use of the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory through 2020. CASIS is dedicated to supporting and accelerating innovations and new discoveries that will enhance the health and wellbeing of people and our planet. The CASIS goal is to bring the magic of space down to earth. For more information, visit www.iss-casis.org.
In 2005, Congress designated the U.S. portion of the International Space Station as the nation’s newest national laboratory to maximize its use for improving life on Earth, promoting collaboration among diverse users and advancing STEM education. This unique laboratory environment is available for use by other U.S. government agencies and by academic and private institutions, providing access to the permanent microgravity setting, vantage point in low earth orbit and varied environments of space. The ISS National Laboratory Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center currently facilitates research initiatives on board the station’s National Lab, but management of America’s only in-orbit laboratory is transitioning to CASIS.