Muscle tissue from Florida Hospital patients headed into space for new study

A new study has parts of some Florida Hospital patients going into space.

Muscle cells from research study participants at Florida Hospital’s Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes will be blasting off to the International Space Station next week as part of an experiment to examine the effects of a weightless environment on muscle health.

“We know microgravity has quite detrimental effects on skeletal muscle. After a long stay in space, astronauts come back in a very weak state and are often confined to wheelchairs until their muscle can recover,” said Dr. Paul Coen, an investigator at the Translational Research Institute. “This experiment will allow us to study the effects of microgravity on muscle cell biology.”

The samples came from eight participants in a recent study on aging and muscle loss, supported by the National Institute on Aging and conducted by Dr. Coen.

They are scheduled to lift off at 4:29 a.m. on Thursday aboard a Cygnus cargo ship from NASA’s flight facility at Wallops Island, Virginia.

The Cygnus will be lifted into space atop a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket.

The findings from the spaceflight will be important because the research can also be applied to find treatments for age-related muscle loss, known as sarcopenia.