Promising technologies for better medical treatments and disease-fighting drug research -- enhanced by science experiments in space -- will be discussed by NASA representatives at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, through Nov. 19.
The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists conference will feature an exhibit highlighting NASA's biotechnology research efforts to improve health care on Earth. NASA representatives will be on hand to discuss how scientists are using the unique environment of space to unlock the secrets of disease.
Dr. Daniel C. Carter, president of New Century Pharmaceuticals in Huntsville, Ala., will outline the benefits of space research as an aid in mapping protein crystal structures and functions. NASA's goal is to advance the fundamental scientific knowledge base in this field so that pharmaceutical companies can use cutting edge technology to develop new drugs.
NASA and NASA-sponsored biotechnology research has contributed to the understanding of many diseases, including AIDS, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, respiratory syncytial virus, sickle cell anemia, hepatitis and rheumatoid arthritis.
NASA's Biotechnology Program is managed by the Microgravity Research Program, located at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.
Pure, precisely ordered protein crystals of sufficient size and uniformity are in high demand by drug developers. Structural information gained from X-ray analysis of protein crystals can provide a better understanding of the role of a given protein in the body's immune system and help in the development of more effective drugs and life-saving treatments for many diseases.