The Rodent Research 6 (RR-6) science investigation was sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Center for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) in partnership with Norvartis and NanoMedical Systems to evaluate the impact of a new treatment drug (fomoteral or FMT) designed to mitigate muscle atrophy caused by exposure to microgravity, and to test a new subcutaneous delivery system for the drug using nanochannel implants.
This flight had two aims:
1. To study the efficacy of constant FMT release in vivo in microgravity.
2. To analyze sample and data and assess side effects associated with constant FMT delivery in microgravity.
Exposure to microgravity during spaceflight results in significant and rapid effects on the musculoskeletal system, similar to what occurs in certain muscle wasting diseases on Earth that are triggered by, for example, prolonged immobilization, cancer, and aging. Studying accelerated muscle wasting in space could provide insight into disease mechanisms, confirm potential new drug targets, and enable the preclinical evaluation of a candidate therapeutic targeted to such disease. This research also improves understanding of nanochannel delivery systems, also known as drug release chips). Results of this investigation are also 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.
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