Crystallizing Proteins in Space to Help Parkinson’s Patients on Earth

One million people in the U.S., and more than 5 million worldwide, are currently living with Parkinson’s disease. In an effort to help people with Parkinson’s on Earth, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is taking its research off the planet—to the International Space Station (ISS) National Lab.

Leveraging microgravity conditions on the ISS National Lab, The Michael J. Fox Foundation aims to crystallize the LRRK2 protein, which is associated with the development of Parkinson’s. Crystals grown in microgravity are often larger and more well-ordered than crystals grown on Earth. Space-based studies could help researchers better understand the structure of LRRK2, which could help advance drug development for Parkinson’s.

Learn more about The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s ISS National Lab research in the NASA article “Designing a Key to Unlock Parkinson’s Disease” and in the ISS360 article “Going Beyond Earth’s Limitations to Understand Parkinson’s Disease.”



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