NIH-sponsored research could be taking place on NASA's International Space Station in several years, if the two agencies can get an agreement off the ground.As part of a national laboratory initiative, NASA plans to open up half the U.S. portion of the ISS for use by public or private agencies. The NIH and NASA are drafting an agreement that would allow experiments to be sent to the station from 2011 until 2014 or later.So far, no specific ISS experiments have been planned, but the NIH and NASA met in December 2006 to talk about possible research areas, which include osteoporosis, muscle wasting, immune dysfunction and stem cell function.Proponents of the idea say results could yield discoveries that advance human health on Earth. But critics say that they doubt the questions asked in space will result in advances for life science and that space projects should not be prioritized in light...

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