Drug companies want to make and grow protein crystals that can replicate and unveil the essential protein structures found in the human body. They have chosen the space for developing such crystals which have the theoretical potential to be the next big cancer drug. To form such a crystal, a person has to travel into space and insert 10 microliters of the fluid in a microplate and let the crystal grow by itself. Every 10 microliters form one single droplet, and hence, it does not just involve balancing oneself in space but also be extremely precise in the protein crystal formation process.
What Makes Space Crystals Special?
The craze for growing crystal in space irrespective of how difficult it is surfaced when the researchers found that these crystals grown in space are more perfect than the ones inside the human. The mechanics for fewer imperfections has been explained, and in a nutshell, it is due to the slow and steady growth from a single droplet to a full-fledged crystal under the microgravity. The protein molecules crystalize through a randomized diffusion, and hence, the crystal growth takes place in a more orderly way with fewer impurities. These nearly perfect space crystals open up the opportunity for the researchers to study the specific protein structures vividly and cure them when they get deformed during the cancerous case or other diseases.
How Can Space Crystals Unveil New Cancer Drugs?
Proteins are essential for proper functioning of the human body. Understanding the structure of the different protein molecules is extremely important to resurrect them when they get deformed. But the natural protein structures are so small and imperfect that they are almost impossible to study. That is why the researchers have found out the way to create space crystals from protein molecules. This helps to create repetitive structures of the proteins in the crystal for convenience in studying the structures.
Once the researchers understand the complete structure of different essential body proteins, they can develop medicines to get them back in the previous state when they start to rattle in a cancerous patient. As a matter of fact, the researchers believe that knowing the structure of the protein molecules will help them create better design molecules that can prevent cancer. There are high hopes that these orderly crystals developed in space can help to formulate cancer immunotherapy drugs. Certain crystals are already used to develop antidotes for nerve gas, drugs for Parkinson’s disease, and the future possibilities are limitless.