Thursday, March 13, 2008

The VA's lost in space mission

VA Research Project on NASA Space Shuttle
Peake: VA Research Will Benefit Veterans, Others

WASHINGTON (March 13, 2008) - A Department of Veterans Affairs
(VA) research project, which may lead to development of a vaccine to
prevent Salmonella poisoning, was aboard the NASA space shuttle that
launched March 11.

"This space flight is an exciting step in the development of a
Salmonella vaccine that will benefit not only our nation's veterans, but
all mankind," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake.
"This is a great example of VA working with the private and public
sectors on vital research to create a life-saving advancement."

The space shuttle Endeavour is transporting research material to
the International Space Station. The research will be used by VA
investigators and other researchers to develop a Salmonella vaccine with
the potential to save lives and billions of dollars.

The project came about through the teaming of VA researchers
with investigators from the National Space Biomedical Research
Institute, Duke University Medical Center, the University Colorado at
Boulder, Germany's Max Planck Institute; and a commercial industry
sponsor, SPACEHAB Inc.

Previous work has identified several genes that weaken
Salmonella when they are removed. One of these weakened strains may be
suitable to use in a vaccine, but the Salmonella organism quickly loses
its infectious characteristics under normal test circumstances, making
it difficult to study.

Researchers believe the environment of space can bring about key
genetic changes in cells that affect the ability of the organism to
invade human tissue and cause disease.
To induce these changes, worms will be grown from eggs on-board
the space shuttle. While in space, the worms will be fed Salmonella.
The extent of damage will be measured when the worms are returned to
earth, helping to identify which of the weakened strains is the most
effective to use in a vaccine.

"This represents a new approach to vaccine development, as it
will be the first time a living organism is infected in space to study
its immune response," said Timothy Hammond, lead VA investigator on the
project at the Durham VA Medical Center in North Carolina.

Salmonella infection is the most common form of food poisoning
in the United States, and leads to a loss of productivity estimated at
close to $100 billion annually. Worldwide, Salmonella diarrhea is one of
the top three causes of infant mortality.

Salmonella enterica is a common bacterium found world-wide. A
different strain of the same organism, for which there is now a vaccine,
causes typhoid fever, which plagued the United States in the 19th and
early 20th centuries.


they can't get a handle on all the PTSD veterans but they can co-ordinate space experiments ya just have to love the VA

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: