Space: the new frontier for medical breakthroughs
July 17, 2012
Recently, ASU scientists Cheryl Nickerson and Roy Curtiss were highlighted in an article in U.S. News and World Report regarding their leadership in vaccine development in space that could revolutionize the medical field at home on Earth.
Jason Koebler writes: "Cheryl Nickerson and Roy Curtiss, professors at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute, are leading the charge. They are studying salmonella that has spent time in space, in an attempt to 'turn it from foe to friend' by crippling the disease-causing genes and replacing them with ones that protect against Streptococcus pneumoniae, the bacteria that causes meningitis, pneumonia, and many other diseases.
"In space, 'we can unveil many of [salmonella's] responses that are happening here on earth but are masked by gravity,' Nickerson says. 'We've been able to identify missing info and use the new information to understand how [salmonella] causes disease … what you have now is a discovery platform that … can be used to create new vaccine technologies.'"
U.S. News & World Report
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ASU researchers Cheryl Nickerson and her team, including Jennifer Barrila and Shameema Sarker, will see their latest experiment launched into low earth orbit aboard the space shuttle Discovery on mission STS-131.