A team from Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute will have its research carried out from earth and space, where plate reader technology installed on the International Space Station (ISS) in July will used for the first time in tests that may aid in future drug development.
Siobhan Malany, Ph.D., and Steve Vasile, Ph.D., lead the research team, which will oversee the tests to be conducted simultaneously at Sanford-Burnham and at the U.S. National Lab aboard the ISS, where the SpectraMax M5 microplate reader, with SpectraMax Pro software, will get its first workout in space.
Equipment needed for the tests will be transported to the ISS via the Space X Falcon 9 launch vehicle, set to lift off in December 2013. Falcon 9’s owner, SpaceX, in May became the world’s first private company to launch a cargo payload, sending it to the space station.
“These are real baby steps for transferring this technology to a microgravity space environment. We’re quite a ways off from speeding up drug development,” Dr. Malany, chemical biology team leader in Sanford-Burnham's Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics at Lake Nona in Orlando, FL, told GEN. “It’s a new platform, with new possibilities and unique opportunities. At least scientists now can start to investigate some of the answers to these questions about basic life science, differences in CV systems, and gene expressions and protein activities.”