HUDSON, N.Y., June 01, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — When the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft launches today bound for the International Space Station, they will be joined by 40 special mice, bred specifically for this mission by Taconic Biosciences, a global leader in genetically engineered mouse models and associated services.
The project is a collaboration between the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), BioServe, and NASA. For this mission, named “Rodent Research-5”, the Taconic mice support research lead by Dr. Chia Soo, professor of surgery at UCLA Schools of Dentistry, Engineering and Medicine. The study leverages the molecule NELL-1, a protein produced by the human body that is critical for normal bone growth and development.
On June 1, 40 mice treated with NELL-1 will be launched to the International Space Station to test whether the presence of the molecule impedes the typical bone loss associated with microgravity. Reduced gravity in space accelerates the natural process of bone loss. The live mice will return to earth to undergo further evaluation by Dr. Soo’s team after their time in microgravity. The team hopes to use findings to develop therapies that prevent bone loss, and further grow and strengthen bone in humans.
“Taconic Biosciences’ history with the space program dates back to 1985, when the first Taconic mice went into space. More recently, we have supported rodent research missions with CASIS where rodents spent extended periods of time on the International Space Station. This helped scientists develop the initial understanding of the effects of microgravity on bone loss and muscle wasting,” shared Dr. Gretchen Kusek, scientific program manager with Taconic.
“As managers of the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory, we are constantly working with researchers to break down barriers and unlock discoveries not possible through earth-based experimentation,” said CASIS director of operations Ken Shields. “Rodent research on the space station has the capacity to assist in novel understanding of bone density loss and muscle wasting, which could lead to enhanced drug development for us here on our planet. Taconic Biosciences has proven to be an invaluable collaborator in this important research and we look forward to working together on many future ISS National Laboratory missions.”
Taconic is a fully-licensed provider of rodent model generation services and has twenty years of model design experience. Taconic’s unique capability of providing a seamless transition from model design to breeding and colony management, offers customers a complete solution. These scientific services include acquiring or generating, importing, licensing, breeding, testing, preparing, and distributing genetically engineered models to any location worldwide as well as into space.
To learn more about Taconic’s custom model generation, please call 1-888-TACONIC (888-822-6642) in the US, or +45 70 23 04 05 in Europe, or email [email protected].
About Taconic Biosciences, Inc.
Taconic Biosciences is a fully-licensed, global leader in genetically engineered rodent models and services. Founded in 1952, Taconic helps biotechnology companies and institutions acquire, custom generate, breed, precondition, test, and distribute valuable research models worldwide. Specialists in genetically engineered mouse and rat models, precision research mouse models, and integrated model design and breeding services, Taconic operates three service laboratories and six breeding facilities in the U.S. and Europe, maintains distributor relationships in Asia and has global shipping capabilities to provide animal models almost anywhere in the world.
Media Contact: Kelly Owen Grover Director of Marketing Communications (518) 697-3824 [email protected]