BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Nov. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- BioGX announced its Sample-ReadyTM lyophilized qPCR technology was selected by the NASA WetLab-2 program to conduct genetic analysis aboard the International Space Station (ISS). BioGX core technology enables real-time PCR based scientific studies in the microgravity environment of the ISS. Julie Schonfeld, Project Manager of the NASA WetLab 2 program said, "The WetLab-2 qPCR facility, utilizing BioGX configured assays, for the first time will enable biomolecular analysis of biological samples onboard ISS, enabling scientists to utilize the ISS as a fully working laboratory." The first batch of assays were delivered to the ISS on the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft during the CRS-8 resupply mission, and were successfully utilized to perform experiments in orbit.
BioGX Sample-ReadyTM assays for NASA have been developed to run on the Cepheid SmartCyclerTM real-time PCR instrument utilizing a novel sample preparation technology designed to eliminate air bubbles that could interfere with PCR. According to NASA, real-time PCR based gene expression analysis is a powerful tool for examining the molecular and cellular processes underlying spaceflight-induced conditions such as decreased immunity, loss of muscle and bone, cell stress, changes in the cell cycle, and changes in growth and development. Knowledge gained on the ISS using this technology will not only assist in developing ways to improve human health during long space flights, but also may contribute to our understanding of how to prevent and treat diseases here on Earth. Other study applications may include basic research in biology, drug discovery, analysis of environmental conditions on the ISS, and analysis of clinical samples from crew members. Prior to the deployment of WetLab-2, experimental samples and living organisms had to be returned to Earth for analysis days to months later, making them subject to degradation, and living organisms being tested could potentially re-adapt to the terrestrial environment before samples could be tested.