Astronauts collect blood for immune study

February 26, 2008

International Space Station crew members are collecting blood, saliva and urine samples to study their immune function in microgravity.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said while previous research conducted after landing showed dramatic changes in crew members' immune systems, the on-going first-of-its-kind study is the only one to comprehensively monitor the human immune system before, during and after spaceflight.

Dr. Clarence Sams at the Johnson Space Center in Houston is the principal investigator for the study that will determine the clinical risks due to the adverse effects of spaceflight on immunity and confirm an immune-monitoring strategy.

"Brief stress for astronauts, such as launch and landing,can alter immunity," said Dr. Brian Crucian, a co-investigator for the experiment. "Landing is a significant stress on the human body and it somewhat skews the post-flight data we get from crew members.

"Since we don't know if the immune system changes during flight will resolve or worsen over a long-duration mission, this is a perfect opportunity to determine the status of immunity as it balances out during flight," Crucian said.

Researchers said the study will help determine whether countermeasures are needed to prevent immune dysfunction during exploration-class spaceflight.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: An astronaut returns to Earth

Related Stories

An astronaut returns to Earth

December 13, 2018

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst will return to Earth alongside NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Russian cosmonaut Sergei Prokopiev on 20 December. After more than six months living and working on the International ...

Immune health in space

December 4, 2018

With a new crew arriving at the International Space Station, astronauts will be relieved to know that they won't have to worry about a major aspect of their immune system being compromised. While researchers know a lot about ...

Study examines effects of spaceflight on immune system

April 5, 2017

Getting sick isn't fun for anyone, but it could be especially taxing for crew members aboard the International Space Station. Protecting crew health is important as NASA prepares for long duration, deep-space missions. Functional ...

Recommended for you

Mars InSight lander seen in first images from space

December 14, 2018

On Nov. 26, NASA's InSight mission knew the spacecraft touched down within an 81-mile-long (130-kilometer-long) landing ellipse on Mars. Now, the team has pinpointed InSight's exact location using images from HiRISE, a powerful ...

Preparing for discovery with NASA's Parker Solar Probe

December 13, 2018

Weeks after Parker Solar Probe made the closest-ever approach to a star, the science data from the first solar encounter is just making its way into the hands of the mission's scientists. It's a moment many in the field have ...

Rosetta witnesses birth of baby bow shock around comet

December 12, 2018

A new study reveals that, contrary to first impressions, Rosetta did detect signs of an infant bow shock at the comet it explored for two years – the first ever seen forming anywhere in the solar system.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.