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What kinds of cancer research have been done in space?

Can cancer be cured in orbit? I've heard that different minerals and substances have been created while in orbit?

Unfortunately, being in space is not a cure for cancer - if anything it may weaken the human body, because a person's immune system can't function as efficiently when in space. Also, no cure for cancer has been found in space.

However, many technologies developed in space or through the space program have resulted in major breakthroughs in the fight against cancer. The low-gravity environment in orbit allows for unique studies of human cells and the human body. Exposure to increased radiation in space also allows scientists to study how cancer risk is affected by radiation exposure and other factors such as diet and exercise. Also, materials and machines developed through the space program are often developed and used for biomedical purposes, for example, synthetic bone and ligament materials. NASA funds many research programs that, both in orbit, and on the ground, work steadily towards understanding the causes of cancer and using technologies to fight it. NASA has also teamed up with the National Cancer Institute to develop nanotechnology that can be used within the human body. Here are links to some examples of major cancer breakthroughs:

Brain cancer surgery done using a LED developed through the space shuttle program

Space Research on the causes of cancer

Breast cancer research

Cancer cells sent to space

More information on biomedical research, including cancer research, done in space can be found at NASA's Office of Biological and Physical Research's page.

June 2003, Cathy Jordan (more by Cathy Jordan) (Like this Answer)

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