MentallyHealth.Org

Experiment to protect astronauts from bone loss during space travel

October 27, 2017

"This proof-of-principle study will enhance our understanding of the science behind the sclerostin antibody and arm us with important research to support potential future therapeutic applications in both astronauts and patients suffering from bone loss," notes Amgen Scientific Executive Director Chris Paszty, PhD.

Thirty mice will be flown in space, with half of the animals given a preflight injection of the sclerostin antibody and the remaining mice receiving a placebo. After the flight lands (following 12 days in space), various aspects of the structure, composition, strength and cell and molecular nature of the bones from the flight and ground-based control mice will be analyzed.

"When the mice come back from space, we hope to learn what the effects of microgravity are on the skeleton and on the muscle," explains Bouxsein. "We also want to find out if this new type of therapy will be able to counteract those profound effects and actually promote bone gain in a microgravity environment.

"One in two women and one in five men over age 50 will suffer a fracture resulting from osteoporosis [and bone loss] during their remaining lifetime," she adds. "These fractures have profound personal and societal consequences. With the increasing age of the population there is urgent need to develop bone-building therapies to prevent this type of potentially debilitating injury."

Source: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center