Aerospace

ISS Space-Grown Crystals Could Be Key to Understanding Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson’s disease affects over five million people. Research on the International Space Station could provide insight into the chronic neurodegenerative disease, to help scientists find ways to treat and prevent it. The investigation involves growing protein crystals of Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2). People with Parkinson’s disease experience increased function of LLRK2. Growing LRRK2 crystals on Earth is difficult, and does not produce samples with high enough quality for researchers to determine the protein’s shape and structure. In space, protein crystals grow larger and more uniformly.