Gap Cancer-503: Validate identified countermeasures to reduce radiation carcinogenesis risks in advanced biological model systems.
Last Published:  04/20/22 11:43:20 AM (Central)
Responsible Element: Space Radiation (SR)
Status: Open

Countermeasure need to be identified that are both effective at reducing cancer risk and safe for implementation in a healthy astronaut population. Additionally, practicality and the logistics of spaceflight in terms of mass, power, volume, and no resupply for mission durations up to three years need to be considered. To efficiently assess countermeasures, best practices/platforms for screening and testing countermeasures for major at-risk organ systems need to be identified, developed, and validated.


There are currently no medical countermeasures that are validated to mitigate to the long-term health effects of the chronic low dose-rate mixed field irradiation experienced in the spaceflight environment. While assessment of surrogate endpoints in in vitro model systems, and preliminary animal studies can support identification of promising countermeasure candidates, operationalization requires validation in using both large-scale animal cohorts where appropriate and an assessment of feasibility for spaceflight. Drug-based countermeasures will focus on supplements, nutraceuticals, and repurposing FDA approved pharmaceuticals or FDA investigational new drugs targeting inflammation; oxidative stress; aging-related processes, or other reasonably viable surrogate endpoints of radiation carcinogenesis and degenerative disease. Non-drug based countermeasures include, but are not limited to, health outcome or biomarker surveillance and monitoring techniques, exercise regimens, dietary modification, translatable clinical cancer prevention strategies, individualized risk assessment to drive personalized medical care, etc. Countermeasure assessment needs to emphasize safety, ease-of-use, implementation in healthy populations, stability, and feasibility for long duration missions. To accomplish this task, multiple large-scale animal studies will assess drug-based countermeasure efficacy in reducing the risk of radiation-associated carcinogenesis and degenerative diseases from chronic, low dose-rate radiation.

Target for Closure
  • Completion of large-scale animal studies that demonstrate interventional countermeasure efficacy with sufficient statistical power in the chronic, low dose rate, space radiation environment.
  • Quantification of the effectiveness of candidate interventional countermeasures in advanced biological model systems.
  • Incorporation of countermeasure efficacy into computational model systems to assess changes in risk.
  • Updated recommendations for clinical practice guidelines incorporating use of validated countermeasures.
Risk Risk of Radiation Carcinogenesis
You are here! Gap Cancer-503: Validate identified countermeasures to reduce radiation carcinogenesis risks in advanced biological model systems.

Multi-Disciplinary Research Plans

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