Amgen and UCB test bone loss treatment on space shuttle
World News | July 06, 2011

Kevin Grogan

Amgen and UCB are collaborating with NASA to conduct a preclinical test of a sclerostin antibody that will take place aboard the final space shuttle mission.

When the space shuttle Atlantis blasts off on July 8, some 30 mice are set to join the astronauts on the flight to carry out a bone density study. The companies note that the loss of bone mass during space flight is considerable, but they are looking at the problem not only for astronauts but for those of us who never leave the Earth’s atmosphere.

In this experiment, half of the mice are given the sclerostin antibody while the other 15 receive a placebo. After the shuttle's return, "various aspects of the structure, composition, strength and cell and molecular nature of the bones from the flight and ground-based control mice will be analysed", the firms say.