National Laboratory Pathfinder - Vaccine - Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (NLP-Vaccine-MRSA) investigation uses microgravity to examine, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a pathogenic (disease-causing) organism resistant to most common antibiotics, to develop a potential vaccine for the prevention of infection on Earth and in microgravity.Principal Investigator(s)
University of Colorado at Boulder, BioServe Space Technologies, Boulder, CO, United States
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory (NL)Research Benefits
Information PendingISS Expedition Duration:
April 2008 - March 2011Expeditions Assigned
17,19/20,21/22,23/24,25/26Previous ISS Missions
The NLP-Vaccine series of investigations began on STS-123/1JA during ISS Expedition 16.
The 2005 NASA Authorization Act designated a portion of the International Space Station (ISS) as a National Laboratory. To fulfill that mandate, NASA is providing an opportunity for non-governmental entities to conduct research and development and potentially industrial processing on board the ISS. These opportunities aboard the ISS are considered National Lab Pathfinder (NLP) missions. These NLP missions launch to the ISS on each available shuttle mission, until the shuttle is retired.
National Laboratory Pathfinder - Vaccine - Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (NLP-Vaccine-MRSA) takes advantage of knowledge gained in previous space flight studies to identify the target genes for MRSA virulence (infection potential). MRSA is a type of Staphylococcus bacteria that is resistant to certain beta-lactam antibiotics; these antibiotics include methicillin, penicillin, and amoxicillin. More severe or potentially life-threatening MRSA infections occur most frequently among patients in healthcare settings. MRSA is especially troublesome in hospitals, where patients with open wounds, invasive devices and weakened immune systems are at greater risk of infection than the general public.
Each flight opportunity of this investigation provides additional insight about the bacteria and the changes that are occurring as they grow in space. The knowledge is applied to streamline and accelerate the development of vaccines and therapeutics on Earth.
For NLP-Vaccine-MRSA, the MRSA and the Caenorhabditis elegans worms are launched separated and serially mixed, grown and fixed in flight. Once the experiment is completed on orbit and returned to Earth, analysis of virulence is completed by the investigator.
NLP-Vaccine-MRSA flies on the Space Shuttle to the ISS as NLP-Vaccine-1B, NLP-Vaccine-5, NLP-Vaccine-6, NLP-vaccine-8, NLP-Vaccine-9 and NLP-Vaccine-11.
Results from this experiment may help scientists more clearly understand measures that should be taken to reduce the risk of infection and contraction of disease while in space.Earth Applications
There is currently no vaccine available for the strains of organisms being examined by the NLP-Vaccine series of investigations. This research may help develop vaccines against these life threatening organisms.
This payload is conducted under ambient temperature conditions and does not require image or data download.Operational Protocols
The research is contained in the Fluid Processing Apparatus (FPA). In order to activate the samples, the crew turns a hand crank that has been inserted onto the top of the GAP which contains the FPAs. Once the samples are activated for a predetermined length of time, the crew again turns the hand crank on top of the GAPs to terminate the experiment. The terminated samples are returned to Earth via the shuttle.
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