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Imaging and Serum Biomarkers to Predict and Identify Early Cardiac Injury from Radiation Exposure (80NSSC18K1639)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Radiation biology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human


As NASA moves toward long-duration missions, it is imperative that the adverse health effects of the space environment be understood. The cardiac effects of radiation from medical, occupational, and environmental exposures are of critical concern. This experiment aims to understand cardiac events from exposure to radiation therapy to develop tools for early identification of cardiac injury.

Human radiotherapy cohorts have not been utilized to identify adverse outcome pathways, progression rates and latency periods, and early surrogate markers for radiation-induced cardiovascular disease. The experiment will acquire data on cardiovascular impairments and associated biomarkers observed in patients undergoing cardiac exposure to ionizing radiation with emphasis on non-invasive imaging modalities to quantify predictive changes linked to late impairment. Identifying damage early on may prevent cardiac dysfunction though the use of interventions. Understanding cardiac functional changes that occur during and soon after radiation therapy may lead to the development of therapeutic interventions.

The objective of the experiment is to identify early markers of cardiac injury after radiation exposure in a timely manner so that steps can be taken to prevent irreversible cardiac dysfunction. In a short period after cardiac radiation exposure inflammation occurs and biomarkers are released. Without treatment radiation exposure progresses to reversible cardiac dysfunction and then irreversible cardiac dysfunction. Irreversible cardiac dysfunction can lead to coronary artery disease, valvular disease, myocardial damage, conduction defects, and diastolic dysfunction. This experiment has the following specific aims:

  1. Assess for cardiac toxicity in patients treated with radiation therapy to the chest.
  2. Assess for an association between 3D imaging findings suggestive of cardiac injury and radiation dosimetry.
  3. Explore the association of radiation exposure with serum biomarker levels

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Apolipoprotein E (APOE)
Atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP)
Cardiac-related functional status
Deceleration time
Diastolic function
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Ground 05/01/2009 In Progress

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