Rodent Research-6 (RR-6) (Rodent Research-6 (RR-6)) - 09.06.17

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
The Rodent Research-6 (RR-6) mission uses mice flown aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and maintained on Earth to test drug delivery systems for combatting muscular breakdown in space or during disuse conditions. RR-6 includes several groups of mice selectively treated with a placebo or implanted with a nanochannel drug delivery chip that administers compounds meant to maintain muscle in low gravity/disuse conditions. Two groups of 20 mice live aboard the ISS in the rodent habitat for durations of one and two months. The first group of treated and control mice returns to Earth live after approximately 30 days. The second group of animals remains on the ISS for approximately 60 days. In both cases, animals are euthanized humanely, and tissue samples are harvested for subsequent study and comparison with Earth-based control groups.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Janet E. Beegle, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom:

Principal Investigator(s)
Alessandro Grattoni, Ph.D., Department of Nanomedicine, Houston Methodist Research Institute, Houston, TX, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Samuel Cadena, Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research, Inc., Cambridge, MA, United States

Developer(s)
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory (NL)

Research Benefits
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
September 2017 - February 2018; -

Expeditions Assigned
53/54,55/56

Previous Missions
The RR-1, RR-2, RR-3, RR-4, and RR-5 missions validate all the hardware and procedures that are done on this mission. Animals have access to an enrichment hardware inside the habitat, which is validated on RR-5 and JRR-1 missions. The Transporter houses animals during transport to the ISS and the Habitat houses rodents on ISS for long duration missions. The Access Unit interfaces with either the Transporter or Habitat to allow handling and transfer of animals. For this flight, 40 mice are flown, 20 return live and 20 are euthanized on ISS. The ISS crew pulls out the pre-installed Habitat and then transport the Transporter and Access Unit to ISS and performs animal transfer operations. The MSG has been used for all of the previous Rodent Research investigations, as are cold stowage capabilities.

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • Spaceflight has significant and rapid effects on the musculoskeletal system; therefore, it is important to investigate targeted therapies that could ameliorate some of the detrimental effects of spaceflight. The drug being studied in Rodent Resarch-6 (RR-6) is a potential strategy to slow and/or reverse muscle atrophy during spaceflight.
  • Mice are implanted with a nanochannel drug delivery chip, which releases the treatment drug while they live in a microgravity environment on the International Space Station (ISS). Some mice return to earth to accomplish an additional research goal of determining if the drug improves how quickly animals recover and re-adapt to living on earth after being in space.
  • The impact of this research is to evaluate a new strategy to mitigate muscle atrophy, which is one of the negative effects of living in space or other disuse conditions. Additionally, this research may have applications in improving ground-based ailments related to muscle atrophy due to prolonged immobilization, cancer, and aging. The therapeutics developed as a result potentially benefit millions of patients worldwide.

Description

The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) has formed a partnership with Norvartis and NanoMedical Systems to evaluate a novel therapeutic drug delivery chip in microgravity. The application is applied to an investigation aimed at mitigating muscle wasting and atrophy.
 
Exposure to the spaceflight environment results in significant and rapid effects on the musculoskeletal system, similar to what occurs in certain muscle wasting diseases, such as prolonged immobilization, cancer, and aging, on earth. Studying accelerated muscle wasting in space in collaboration with academic and commercial partners provides insight into disease mechanisms, identifies potential new drug targets and enables the preclinical evaluation of a candidate therapeutic targeted to such disease. This research could lead to clinical translation of the nanochannel delivery system (nDS) and the drug to address an important unmet clinical and market need. Results of the proposed Rodent Research-6 (RR-6) investigation are expected to increase our understanding of ground-based diseases, disorders and injuries affecting millions of people globally and aid in the development of new therapeutics and strategies to treat such conditions.
 
Forty (40) mice (female, C57BL/6 mice between 30 and 50 weeks of age are either sham operated or implanted with vehicle or treatment filled nDS, launched in 2 Transporters (20 mice per Transporter), transferred to Rodent Habitats onboard the International Space Station (ISS) and maintained in microgravity for approximately 30 days (N=20, Live Animal Return [LAR]) and for approximately 60 days (N=20, ISS Terminal [IT]). Two treatment groups are required: control (vehicle only) and experimental (formoterol [FMT]). Twenty mice, at approximately Launch +30 to 40 days (just prior to Dragon unberth), are transferred to an unused Transporter and returned live back to Earth. The 20 mice kept on board the ISS, at approximately Launch +8 to 9 weeks, are euthanized and samples are harvested for processing and analyses. Ground control animals are treated the same as flight animals, but the ground procedures are offset from the flight schedule by 5 days.

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Applications

Space Applications
RR-6 increases our understanding of ground-based muscle-related diseases, disorders and injuries affecting millions of people globally and aids in the development of new strategies for treating these conditions. Studying accelerated muscle wasting in space in collaboration with academic and commercial partners provides insight into disease mechanisms, confirms potential new drug targets and enables preclinical evaluation of candidate drugs. This research also improves understanding of nanochannel delivery systems (drug release chips).

Earth Applications
Long term space travel requires therapies and strategies for maintaining healthy body structure in the absence of gravity. RR-6 advances understanding of both drugs and drug delivery systems that can address muscle loss during long space journeys. Because mice are genetically very similar to humans, successful trials in mice generate critical information for therapies that can work for humans.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols
Forty (40) mice (female, C57BL/6 mice between 30 and 50 weeks of age are either sham operated or implanted with vehicle or treatment filled nDS, launched in 2 Transporters (20 mice per Transporter), transferred to Rodent Habitats onboard the International Space Station (ISS) and maintained in microgravity for approximately 30 days (N=20, Live Animal Return [LAR]) and for approximately 60 days (N=20, ISS Terminal [IT]). Two treatment groups are required: control (vehicle only) and experimental (formoterol [FMT]). Twenty mice, at approximately Launch +30 to 40 days (just prior to Dragon unberth), are transferred to an unused Transporter and returned live back to Earth. The 20 mice kept on board the ISS, at approximately Launch +8 to 9 weeks, are euthanized and samples are harvested for processing and analyses. Ground control animals are treated the same as flight animals, but the ground procedures are offset from the flight schedule by 5 days.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites

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Imagery