Rodent Research-5 (SpaceX-11)
Systemic Therapy of NELL-1 for Osteoporosis
The Rodent Research-5 mission, RR-5, is the fifth mission of Rodent Research aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The spaceflight environment is known to result in significant and rapid effects on the skeleton; similar to what occurs in certain bone loss diseases and aging on Earth. The mission’s primary objective is to study bone loss under microgravity conditions and to determine if a novel treatment can reduce or prevent bone loss that would normally happen in a microgravity environment.
For the RR-5 mission, live mice will be launched in the Dragon capsule and transferred to their Rodent Habitat upon arrival to the ISS, where they will be maintained in microgravity for their mission duration. All the mice will be periodically injected with either a control treatment or an experimental treatment that contains NELL-1, a protein that when expressed can help regulate bone-remodeling. After roughly 4 weeks, half of the mice will be transported live back to Earth for recovery. X-ray scanning will be performed on the other other half of the mice that will remain on board. After an additional 4 weeks, the mice will be euthanazied humanely on the ISS and processed samples will return on a later mission.
Results from this experiment can help us provide insight into diseases, disorders, and injuries associated with bone loss in spaceflight environments as well as on Earth and can improve the current standard of care for osteoporosis disease and the prevention of osteoporotic fractures that cost $25 billion annually. This can potentially help millions of people globally and aid in development of new drugs to treat these conditions.
Project Manager: Janet Beegle, NASA Ames Research Center
Mission Scientist: Yasaman Shirazi-Fard, Ph.D., NASA Ames Research Center
Principal Investigator: Chia Soo, Ph.D, UCLA Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Co-investigator: Dr. Jin Hee Kwak, UCLA School of Dentistry
Co-investigator: Dr. Kang Ting, UCLA School of Dentistry
Co-investigator: Dr. Benjamin M. Wu, UCLA School of Dentistry
ISS Tissue Regeneration-Bone Defect (Rodent Research-4 (CASIS))
Staying Strong: Spaceflight Muscle Loss Study Aims to Benefit Patients on Earth
Rodent Research in Microgravity
NASA’s New Rodent Residence Elevates Research to Greater Heights
NASA completes Rodent Research-1 Operations on the International Space Station
‘Space-Age’ Research Looks to Provide New Human Health Insights
For more information, see the Space Station Research Explorer for the Rodent Research-5 mission.