CASIS To Fund Proposal From Veterans Affairs

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A U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs researcher stands to receive roughly $300,000 from the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) to use the international space station to evaluate anti-cancer drug therapies, according to a June 25 announcement from CASIS, the Florida nonprofit manages research on board the U.S. portion of the ISS.

CASIS said the unsolicited proposal from Timothy Hammond of the Department of Veterans Affairs seeks to investigate a yeast-based assay, or procedure for measuring the biochemical activity of a sample, used in developing drug therapies on the ground. Previous investigations performed on the space shuttle showed changes in this assay in space, according to CASIS. “Hammond seeks to demonstrate that these changes can be used for discovery and evaluation of drugs such as cancer therapeutics,” CASIS said in a press release. “Initial experiments studying existing drugs may reveal new uses for these drugs — while optimizing the experimental methodology and paving the way for future experiments.”

CASIS said the grant “marks the first official research proposal agreement between CASIS and a government agency.” NASA selected CASIS in July 2011 to manage research conducted aboard the international space station’s U.S. side, which Congress designated a national laboratory in 2005.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates the National Laboratory is available for all to utilize, ranging from government agencies and academic institutions to commercial entities,” CASIS interim executive director Jim Royston said. “We look forward to continuing to expand our list of qualified researchers to maximize this unparalleled technical platform.”