14/04/2015 10:12 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Indian American Couple Donates $1 Million For Cancer Research Facility In Memory Of Kin

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center/Flickr
<b><i>Greetings to all! This image drew me into a great story about cancer research being aided by research aboard the International Space Station. Very interesting stuff. This is the largest image I have right now, but I'll repost if something larger becomes available...</i></b> Photo caption: The oil (blue) contains a visualization marker that is traceable by ultrasound and C-T scans to allow doctors to follow the microcapsules (brown) during site-specific delivery to the tumor. The semipermeable outer skin has the physical ability to time-release the drug slowly. Story: Invasive and systemic cancer treatment is a necessary evil for many people with the devastating diagnosis. These patients endure therapies with ravaging side effects, including nausea, immune suppression, hair loss and even organ failure, in hopes of eradicating cancerous tissues in the body. If treatments targeted a patient’s cancerous tissues, it could provide clinicians with an alternative to lessen the delivery of toxic levels of chemotherapy or radiation. Imagine the quality of life from such therapies for patients. Remarkably, research that began in space may soon result in such options here on Earth. As we recognize February as National Cancer Prevention Month, it is useful to also point out the continuous improvements to cancer treatment through research and discovery. Using the distinctive microgravity environment aboard the International Space Station, a particular series of research investigations is making further advancements in cancer therapy. A process investigated aboard the space station known as microencapsulation is able to more effectively produce tiny, liquid-filled, biodegradable micro-balloons containing specific combinations of concentrated anti-tumor drugs. Using specialized needles, doctors can deliver these micro-balloons, or microcapsules, to specific treatment sites within a cancer patient. This kind of targeted therapy may soon revolutionize cancer treatment delivery. Use of the microgravity environment aboard the space station for microencapsulation experiments was a necessity before the ability to develop an Earth-based technology for making these microcapsules. “The technique that we have for making these microcapsules could not be done on the ground, because the different densities of the liquids would layer,” explained Dennis Morrison, Ph.D., retired NASA principal investigator of the Microencapsulation Electrostatic Processing System-II (MEPS-II) study and current vice president and director for microencapsulation research and development at NuVue Therapeutics, Inc. “But in space, since there is not sedimentation due to gravity, everything goes spherical.” The MEPS operations in microgravity brought together two liquids incapable of mixing on Earth (80 percent water and 20 percent oil) in such a way that spontaneously caused liquid-filled microcapsules to form as spherical, tiny, liquid-filled bubbles surrounded by a thin, semipermeable outer membrane. In space, surface tension shapes liquids into spheres. Each molecule on a liquid’s surface is pulled with equal tension by its neighbors. The closely integrated molecules form into the smallest possible area, which is a sphere. In effect, the MEPS-II system allowed a combination of liquids in a bubble shape because surface tension forces took over and allowed the fluids to interface rather than sit atop one another. “We were able to figure out what parameters we needed to control so we could make the same kind of microcapsules on the ground,” said Morrison. “Now, we no longer have to go to space. Space was our teacher, our classroom to figure out how we could make these on Earth.” Though the MEPS-II technology was produced on the space station in 2002, the ensuing global economic struggles and funding hurdles made it difficult to raise investor capital for new clinical trials of the microcapsules in humans. This gap in the research slowed movement from discovery to an actual product that improves human health. Read full caption: <a href="http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/news/microencapsulation/" rel="nofollow">www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/news/microenc...</a> Image credit: NuVue Therapeutics, Inc. More about space station research: <a href="http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html" rel="nofollow">www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html</a> View more photos like this in the &quot;NASA Earth Images&quot; Flickr photoset: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28634332@N05">www.flickr.com/photos/28634332@N05</a> _____________________________________________ These official NASA photographs are being made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photographs. The photographs may not be used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement by NASA. All Images used must be credited. For information on usage rights please visit: <a href="http://www.nasa.gov/audience/formedia/features/MP_Photo_Guidelines.html" rel="nofollow">www.nasa.gov/audience/formedia/features/MP_Photo_Guidelin...</a>

HOUSTON — An Indian-American couple has donated USD one million for the construction of a cancer services facility at the University of Arizona.

The couple, Dr Ram, an orthopaedic surgeon, and Meera Krishna made the donation in memory of Meera's sister, Mandira Jalajakshi, who was a physician practicing in England when she passed away in 2012.

The donation will go towards the construction of the UA Cancer Center at St Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center outpatient facility that would offer comprehensive cancer services, including infusion, radiation oncology, diagnostic imaging, endoscopic radiology, a prevention center, clinical lab space and several specialised cancer clinics.

The five-story, 2,20,000 square-foot facility a partnership between the varsity and St Joseph's Hospital is currently under construction in downtown Phoenix and expected to open in September.

The couple, whose two daughters graduated from the UA, said they wanted to give back to the school their children attended, and support UA medical education and research.

"I was very impressed with President Hart's vision, and we wanted to give back. Education and research in the medical field are very important to us," a press statement quoted Ram as saying.

In recognition of the Krishnas' gift, a space in the new center will bear the name of the late Jalajakshi.

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