Microgravity Growth of Crystalline Monoclonal Antibodies for Pharmaceutical Applications (CASIS PCG 5) - 02.22.17
Monoclonal antibodies are molecules designed to attach to certain molecules in the body, and they are important for fighting a wide range of human diseases, including cancer. The Microgravity Growth of Crystalline Monoclonal Antibodies for Pharmaceutical Applications (CASIS-PCG-5) investigation crystallizes a monoclonal antibody developed by Merck Research Labs. Microgravity enables the growth of extremely high-quality crystals, which allow scientists to study the proteins’ structure, improve drug delivery, manufacturing, and developing better methods for storing these biological molecules. Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending Experiment Details
Paul Reichert, M.S., Merck Research Laboratories, Kenilworth, NJ, United States
Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), Rockledge, FL, United States
Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
National Laboratory (NL)
Space Exploration, Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery
ISS Expedition Duration
September 2015 - March 2016; March 2016 - April 2017
Space Shuttle Missions STS-51, 52, 53, 62, 66, 68, 70, 95, 101, 107, and 110 as well as three ISS flights: ISS-8A, ISS Increment 39/40, and ISS Increment 43/44.
To date, earth grown crystalline suspensions of monoclonal antibodies have not been of high enough quality to fully model using X-ray crystallography. With the absence of gravity and convection on the ISS, larger crystals with purer compositions and structures can be grown. In the Microgravity Growth of Crystalline Monoclonal Antibodies for Pharmaceutical Applications (CASIS PCG-5) investigation, single X-ray diffraction quality crystals are to be grown, inspected, and characterized by similar traits. Crystalline suspensions are analyzed using a battery of bio-physical methods to characterize the purity, biological activity, and size distribution for multiple pharmaceutical applications.
Scientists crystallize proteins to glimpse visualize how biological molecules are arranged, which can provide new information about how they work in the body. This investigation crystallizes a monoclonal antibody currently in clinical trials for treating various human diseases. The investigation depends on the microgravity environment of the ISS, where gravity and convection do not interfere with crystallization as they would on Earth. The investigation also builds on previous research obtained on earlier flight experiments, testing scientists’ hypotheses and using the ISS as a long-term scientific platform.
The monoclonal antibodies used in this investigation are currently being tested for treatment of several human diseases. Crystallizing the protein allows scientists to understand how it functions, and potentially improves treatment for patients on Earth. Crystallizing monoclonal antibodies could enable a method for delivering large doses with injections rather than intravenously, and improves methods for storing monoclonal antibodies for extended periods. Improving drug delivery and design benefits patients on Earth suffering from a wide range of diseases.
Operational Requirements and Protocols
Decadal Survey Recommendations
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