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Blood-based Multi-scale Model for Cancer Risk from GCR in Genetically Diverse Populations (NNJ16HP24I)
Principal Investigator
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Species: Cells, human
Scientific Name: Mus musculus Species: Mice

Crews on future exploration missions to Mars and other destinations in our solar system will be exposed to acute low doses (< 100mSv) and chronic low doses (<0.1 mSv/min) of high-LET ionizing radiation from solar particle events (SPE) and galactic cosmic radiation (GCR). Predicting cancer risk associated with these radiation types is a mission-critical challenge for NASA radiation health scientists and mission planners. Epidemiological methods lack sensitivity and power to provide detailed risk estimates for cancer, mainly because the number of exposed individuals to date is relatively small, limited to several hundred individuals exposed to trapped radiation in low Earth orbit and fewer than two dozen Apollo astronauts exposed to GCR for several days at a time. Moreover, population-based studies do not take individual radiation sensitivity into account, are sensitive to the presence of other confounding environmental insults, and require long follow-up times.

In collaboration with the radiation Biodosimetry Laboratory and the modeling group at NASA Johnson Space Center and with the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) at University of California (UC) Berkeley, the investigator team will bring unique interdisciplinary expertise to integrate the large array of cancer data generated over the past 25 years and archived by NASA under the various Human Research Program (HRP) funded projects. The main goal of this study is to identify factors influencing radiation-induced carcinogenesis and integrate them into a multi-scale model already started at the Berkeley Lab that encompasses DNA damage response and intercellular signaling to predict cancer risk for any types of high energy particles (HZE). Because experimental data are dispersed across many different cancer models, radiation qualities, and measurement types, this study will also generate a complete set of experimental data designed to fully inform and validate the model. In this project, the model will impose the types of measurements being made, with a strong emphasis on well-established blood biomarkers.

This study has the following specific aims:

  1. Establishing radiation risk factors in mice using ex-vivo assay of DNA damage and genome wide association studies.
  2. Characterizing DNA repair response, cell death and oxidative stress in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in a large human cohort.
  3. A systems biology approach to predict individual sensitivity to exposure to high-LET based on whole genome sequencing and associations with radiation-induced responses.

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DNA damage
Linear energy transfer (LET)
Dose-response relationship, radiation
Oxidative stress

Data Information
Data Availability
Archiving in progress. Data is not yet available for this experiment.

B lymphocytes
Cell death
Cytotoxic T lymphocytes
Foci per nucleus
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Ground 05/01/2009 In Progress

Human Research Program (HRP) Human Research Roadmap (HRR) Information
Crew health and performance is critical to successful human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. The Human Research Program (HRP) investigates and mitigates the highest risks to human health and performance, providing essential countermeasures and technologies for human space exploration. Risks include physiological and performance effects from hazards such as radiation, altered gravity, and hostile environments, as well as unique challenges in medical support, human factors, and behavioral health support. The HRP utilizes an Integrated Research Plan (IRP) to identify the approach and research activities planned to address these risks, which are assigned to specific Elements within the program. The Human Research Roadmap is the web-based tool for communicating the IRP content.

The Human Research Roadmap is located at:

+ Click here for information of how this experiment is contributing to the HRP's path for risk reduction.

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
2014-15 HERO NNJ14ZSA001N