Minister of Industry, John Manley and American Astronaut John Glenn Share Successful Results of Osteoporosis Experiment


Ottawa, May 10, 2000 -John Manley, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency, today welcomed U.S. Senator and NASA Astronaut John Glenn to Ottawa. The promising results of OSTEO, the Canadian osteoporosis research performed during Senator Glenn's high-profile return to space in 1998, were detailed in an evening public presentation by the Senator and researchers. Earlier in the day, Senator Glenn and Minister Manley took part in an informal meeting with Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, followed by a presentation to the Standing Committee on Industry.

"The Canadian research performed by Senator Glenn offers the potential of direct health benefits here on Earth," said Minister Manley. "The OSTEO experiment was such a success that the Canadian Space Agency is now developing follow-up experiments to be conducted on a future space shuttle mission."

Senator Glenn conducted the Canadian Space Agency's OSTEO experiment on board the Space Shuttle Discovery in October 1998 during a mission aimed at the study of aging. The OSTEO experiment studied the underlying processes of bone loss and evaluated treatments. The research, supervised by John Glenn, was ideally suited for the space environment, as bone loss in space is four to ten times faster than during osteoporosis on Earth. The experiment demonstrated how bone mineralization decreases during space flight and also showed that a specific therapeutic agent, called recombinant human parathyroid hormone (PTH), is able to reverse this loss.

"It is gratifying to see that the Canadian osteoporosis experiment has produced insight into the mechanisms of a serious and often debilitating age-related disease," said Senator Glenn. "This research will also help future astronauts cope with bone changes during space travel, and shed light on a disease that affects over a million Canadians and tens of millions of Americans."

The Canadian experiment was led and funded by the Canadian Space Agency in a joint venture with Allelix Biopharmaceuticals (now NPS Allelix Corp.) and in partnership with Millenium Biologix Inc., Mount Sinai Hospital, the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto. It produced valuable results that will advance research on osteoporosis and contribute to the development of potential treatments.

Senator Glenn's visit to Ottawa included meetings with the Canadian scientists who participated in the experiment. The OSTEO experiment was presented by Senator Glenn and these researchers at a public lecture on May 10 at the National Gallery of Canada.

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For more information:

Caroline Lavallée
Senior Communications Officer
Canadian Space Agency
Tel.: (450) 926-4370
E-mail: caroline.lavallee@space.gc.ca
About the Canadian Space Agency
Established in 1989 and located in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, the Canadian Space Agency co-ordinates all elements of the Canadian Space Program and manages five major sectors, which are: Earth and Environment, Satellite Communications, Space Science, Generic Space Technologies and Human Presence in Space. The Canadian Space Agency is committed to leading the development and application of space-related knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity.

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