Microgravity research uncovered a novel therapy to fight exaggerated immune responses

The last decades have seen a tremendous increase in autoimmune diseases, where the body attacks its own healthy tissue. As much as 20% of the population in Western societies suffers from it. Now, microgravity research has uncovered a novel therapy to fight exaggerated immune responses. Current medications have strong side effects and are not always effective. There is a rise in hay fever, food allergies, asthmatic and inflammatory bowel diseases. Stopping genes that activate our immune system would help people suffering from autoimmune diseases. This research added to the impetus of clinical testing of an experimental treatment using JNK inhibitors to combat autoimmune diseases. The pharmaceutical industry could use kinase inhibitors to fight specific illnesses and market tailored antibodies. Arthritis or Crohn’s disease are just two examples that are a heavy toll on society. In Europe alone, 50 000 patients are chronically ill from Crohn’s disease. These experiments also provide a plausible explanation for the effects of spaceflight on humans, and will help strengthen astronauts’ health on long space journeys.

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