New study of proteins in space could yield insights for drug design

larry delcas study(UPDATE: Technical delays have pushed back the March 30 launch. Get the latest info on launch time here).

Nearly 100 proteins will launch with the SpaceX-3 rocket and travel to the International Space Station to demonstrate the benefits of microgravity on protein crystallization, in a study led by Lawrence DeLucas, O.D., Ph.D., and his team at UAB's Center for Biophysical Sciences and Engineering.

“There are many projects with proteins that are considered high-value drug targets that have been unable to grow diffraction-quality crystals,” said DeLucas, a former Space Shuttle payload specialist who performed protein-crystallization experiments aboard the Columbia STS-50 flight June 25-July 9, 1992. “We would like to determine whether microgravity can play a role in overcoming such obstacles found in structure-based drug discovery.”