The Michael J. Fox Foundation has partnered with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space to send key Parkinson’s protein LRRK2 to the International Space Station for growth under microgravity conditions.
“We’re thrilled that PD research has been selected to travel to the International Space Station and honored to partner with CASIS on behalf of the PD community here on Earth,” said Michael J. Fox in a video message played today at the International Space Station Research and Development Conference in Washington, DC.
Microgravity in space may allow bigger, more regular LRRK2 protein crystals to grow, which helps solve the protein’s structure. That information could help scientists design optimized therapies against LRRK2, a key target in the pursuit of a Parkinson’s cure.
LRRK2 protein will be sent to the International Space Station as part of the SpaceX CRS-12 cargo resupply mission scheduled for no earlier than August 10, 2017. As manager of the ISS U.S. National Laboratory, CASIS coordinates transfer of scientific materials to and from the ISS and work done in the laboratory. MJFF initiated this project and has supported work to ready the protein for growth in space.