Last Published:  04/20/22 11:43:20 AM (Central)
Responsible Element: Space Radiation (SR)
Status: Open

Cancer that potentially arises from exposure to space radiation is a long-term health outcome that may not become clinically evident until decades after the initial exposure occurs. Our knowledge of human carcinogenesis risk from radiation exposure is derived from epidemiological data sets and informed by in vitro and animal models to scale the predominantly photon-based exposures to the radiation quality and dose rate experienced in space. Animal models are considered the gold standard for evaluating cancer risk due to radiation exposure; however, tumor formation takes time and may not occur until 2-4 years after the initial exposure, drastically slowing the pace of research efforts. Therefore, an imperative exists to identify early, surrogate biomarkers that are indicative of long-term cancer occurrence to accelerate studies regarding radiation quality, dose rate, latency, and early detection.


Datamining of both animal and human clinical data, tech watches, interagency collaboration for identification of potential biomarkers. Ground-based research using in vitro and in vivo models as well as systems biology approaches to leverage animal and clinically relevant human datasets to assess and validate novel biomarkers for personalized risk assessment, disease monitoring, and countermeasure development and testing.

Target for Closure
  • Identification or development of sensitive and specific candidate biomarkers of carcinogenesis that are validated in appropriate animals models and human cohorts to determine individual radiation susceptibility and longitudinally monitor astronaut health to better estimate, personalize, and reduce risk of long-term health consequences of space radiation exposure as well as inform standard of care.
  • Initial recommendations for clinical practice guidelines incorporating biomarkers into standard measures for future missions.
Risk Risk of Radiation Carcinogenesis
You are here! Gap Cancer-303: Identify early surrogate biomarkers that correlate with cancer, pre-malignancy, or the hallmarks of cancer.

Multi-Disciplinary Research Plans

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