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Scientists seek answers with space station thyroid cancer study

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By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at VerticalNews Science -- The American Cancer Society estimates about 62,980 cases of thyroid cancer in the U.S. for 2014. The thyroid is a gland in the neck that secretes hormones that help the body to regulate growth and development, metabolism, and body temperature. The Cellbox-Thyroid study is enabled through a collaborative effort between NanoRacks, Airbus Defense and Space, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) to facilitate the microgravity investigation aboard the space station.

"NanoRacks is hosting this German research study aboard the U.S. National Laboratory," said Jeff Manber, CEO of NanoRacks. "It may well make critical advances in understanding and even delaying the onset of cancer in the thyroid."

The overall aim of the Cellbox-Thyroid study is to identify new biomarkers and target proteins for use in developing new cancer-fighting drugs. The investigation has roots in research performed in SIMBOX aboard the Sino-German Chinese Shenzhou-8 mission. During that 2011 study, Daniela-Gabriele Grimm, M.D., principal investigator and researcher with the Department of Biomedicine, Pharmacology at Aarhus University in Aarhus, Denmark, looked at cancer cells in microgravity and found that tumors behave less aggressively in that environment. Grimm's published findings appeared earlier this year in the Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal.

The hope is that the continuance of this research from the original SIMBOX mission to the space station study will confirm findings and build the statistical data. Grimm plans an additional follow up study, called Spheroids, for 2015. Spheroids will operate for two weeks while in orbit, providing data that-together with its predecessors-may one day take a chunk out of those annual thyroid cancer statistics.

Keywords for this news article include: Biomedical Engineering, Biomedicine, Cancer, Oncology, Aerospace, Space Station, Bioengineering, NASA/Johnson Space Center.

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