Gap ExMC 4.22: Limited capability to diagnose and treat radiation sickness (Closed)
Last Published:  04/20/22 11:43:20 AM (Central)
Responsible Element: Exploration Medical Capability (ExMC)
Status: Closed
Closure Rationale
Gap Closure Synopsis
At the recommendation of our Standing Review Panel, ExMC had added this gap to address health effects of radiation.  During the process of gathering information related to the gap, ExMC became aware that many, if not all, of the areas suggested for investigation by the SRP were already being covered within the Space Radiation element.  A meeting between ExMC and Space Radiation was held on 25 October to determine whether the areas that would be targeted by the ExMC gap (in particular, biomarkers of chronic radiation injury, and pharmaceutical interventions for radiation protection) were already covered by Space Radiation.  The treatment of symptoms of radiation sickness, should they arise (the focus remains on prevention) will continue to be covered by ExMC. This condition will not have a separate gap, rather, as with other conditions on the Exploration Medical Condition List (EMCL), a technology watch for improvements in treatment will be conducted regularly via Gap 3.03. Evidence of several immerging prevention, diagnostic, and treatment modalities is document in the latest Gap Report for Gap 4.22 and is summarized below.

The level of tissue injury has been found to be related to the dose and duration of exposure. Personal, in-flight radiation dosimeters and radiation sensors used on ISS enable the quantitative measurement of radiation dose from exposure. However, the most clinically useful markers for diagnosis include the rate of decline of absolute lymphocyte count (ALC), time to onset of emesis, and the presence of chromosomal changes, along with the number of such changes. Aggressive supportive care (i.e. maintain vital signs, replace electrolytes, control vomiting), antibiotics, irradiated blood products, granulocyte colony stimulating factors (G-CSF), and pain management are used terrestrially for the medical management and treatment for acute cases of radiation sickness.


Rationale for Closure

This gap is ready to be closed as there are no unique technologies or capabilities identified at this time to address the diagnosis and treatment for radiation sickness during spaceflight.  Collaboration between the ExMC and Space Radiation elements revealed similar planned work by both groups in the areas of radioprotectants and biomarkers.  Radioprotectants to defend against radiation effects, as well as biomarkers for the detection of chronic radiation effects such as cancer, will continue to be investigated by Space Radiation and are covered in their portion of the Integrated Research Plan (IRP) via the gaps, Acute-7 and Acute-2, respectively. As the technologies for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of radiation sickness evolve, ExMC will identify new advancements in care via the ExMC gap for technology watch, Gap 3.03.  Additionally, ExMC and Space Radiation will meet annually to discuss any inter-related tasks.  


Tasks and Supporting Reports Completed

The task “Development of methods/technologies for treating radiation sickness” has been deleted per CR HHPD-SMP-13-008. There were no ExMC tasks associated with this gap.

Closure Documentation:
No Closure Documentation Available
Target for Closure
No Target for Closure available.
Risk Risk of Adverse Health Outcomes and Decrements in Performance Due to Medical Conditions that occur in Mission, as well as Long Term Health Outcomes Due to Mission Exposures
You are here! Gap ExMC 4.22: Limited capability to diagnose and treat radiation sickness (Closed)

Multi-Disciplinary Research Plans

No Documentation Available