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Factor D Enzyme
The trauma caused by open-heart surgery often triggers massive inflammation because the immune system overreacts. The crystal, at left, of Factor D -- a protein that plays a key role in the biological sequence that activates this immune response -- was grown on Earth by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Data obtained by analyzing a group of crystals grown on Earth is being used to develop Factor D blockers. Factor D blockers, with their great potential to alleviate the complication of inflammation associated with heart surgery, are now being developed for clinical trials. (some positive results were obtained) These new drugs, developed from space research, should be commercially available as soon as year 2001.
Note that visible protein crystals such as this, although essential for crystallography studies, do not occur normally in the human body and are produced only with difficulty in the laboratory.
|This file is in the public domain because it was created by NASA. NASA copyright policy states that "NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted". (See Template:PD-USGov, NASA copyright policy page or JPL Image Use Policy.)
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