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With new supplies, space station astronauts to research mending broken bones

Nov. 21 (UPI) — New research on the International Space Station will include implantable drug delivery devices and an adhesive that can stimulate bone growth.

SpaceX will launch a resupply mission as early as Tuesday to deliver a payload of items developed by commercial companies that need to be tested in orbit. The launch window opens at 3:54 p.m. EST.

It will be the 26th commercial resupply service mission by SpaceX and NASA. The Falcon 9 rocket is to be launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The space-based research is sponsored by the ISS National Laboratory.

The bone-mending injectable adhesive, called Tetranite, was developed by medical device company RevBio. The adhesive is intended to speed bone growth after breaks and fractures. The research will focus on how Tetranite performs in microgravity.

The project to research an implantable drug-delivery device at the space station was announced in 2021 by the Houston Methodist Research Institute. The device is capable of being remotely activated to deliver a release of a drug inside the body on demand. The first delivery of research material was part of the 23rd resupply mission.

“If successful, the device could allow doctors to remotely control drug delivery in patients in remote areas of Earth, or even in astronauts during spaceflight,” according to a news release.

In July, SpaceX’s 25th resupply mission delivered material for an investigation into tissue chips, a device which mimics the function of natural human tissue.

The National Institute of Health collaborated with astronauts on research of tissue chips starting in 2019. Tissue chips mimick actual human tissue, allowing researchers to study and observe “molecular mechanisms” of a wide variety of diseases with the hope of discovering treatments.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Launchpad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on October 5, 2022. NASA’s Crew-5 mission is on its way to the International Space Station. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

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