Tech

August 6, 2012

NASA investigates proton radiation effects on cells

A team of researchers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., has found radiation from protons could further enhance a process that occurs during tumor progression.

This information may help lead to better methods to protect astronauts from the harmful effects of radiation in space, as well as help cancer researchers on Earth better understand the effects of radiation treatment on the human body.

NASA is particularly interested in this research because protons, which are charged subatomic particles, are the main source of space radiation astronauts receive during spaceflights. The study was part of NASA’s ongoing effort to learn how to mitigate the effects of radiation during long-duration missions to destinations beyond low Earth orbit, such as asteroids and Mars.

“Our paper makes new discoveries on the potential risks from low doses of protons that occur outside of the tumor during radiation therapy, and to all tissues for astronauts exposed to space radiation,” said Francis A. Cucinotta, chief scientist for the Human Research Program Space Radiation Program Element at Johnson and one of the authors of the paper.

The objective of the researchers was to study the biological effects of low-energy protons on epithelial cells (membranous tissues found throughout the body) and the protons’ propensity to enhance a process that occurs during tumor progression. This process is called epithelial-mesenchymal transition, which has been associated with cancer progression. EMT also has been linked to radiation-induced fibrosis, one of the most common late effects of radiotherapy.

Notably, the study revealed protons alone can induce EMT-associated changes in normal human epithelial cells. Although the total body dose received in space is moderately low compared to what is received in radiotherapy, this study reveals that low doses of protons still may prompt EMT and result in potentially detrimental effects.

These studies were conducted at Johnson and at the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, N.Y.

Results of the study were published as “Protons Sensitize Epithelial Cells to Mesenchymal Transition” in the July 23 issue of the journal PLoS ONE.

 

To view the paper on the Internet, visit http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0041249.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines December 19, 2014

News: SpaceX’s attempt to land rocket on floating barge postponed - It’s set to be one of the most groundbreaking moments in humanity’s six decades of space exploration. Obama signs $1.1 trillion spending bill into law - President Obama signed the $1.1 trillion federal spending measure into law Dec. 16, officially ending any threat of a government...
 
 

News Briefs December 19, 2014

Trial set for ex-Navy engineer in military secrets case A former Navy civilian engineer is scheduled to stand trial next summer on charges of trying to steal aircraft carrier schematics. Media outlets report that 35-year-old Mostafa Awwad of Yorktown, Va., pleaded not guilty Dec. 17 to two counts of attempted exportation of defense articles and...
 
 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Army to launch cruise missile-detecting aerostat at Aberdeen Proving Ground

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez The Army plans to launch an aerostat, part of the “Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor,” in late December 2014. The JLENS aerostat will be tethered to the...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Jordan Castelan

AF delivers Iraqi F-16s for training in US

Air Force photograph by SrA. Jordan Castelan Iraqi air force captain Hama conducts preflight inspections while inside a new to service Iraqi F-16 Fighting Falcon Dec. 17, 2014, located at the nearby Tucson International Airport...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Derek VanHorn

Short-notice: A new way to exercise

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Derek VanHorn Airmen from Kadena Air Base, Japan, prepare for an aeromedical evacuation exercise on a KC-135 Stratotanker Dec. 5, 2014, at Misawa Air Base, Japan. The operation was executed in supp...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Andy Wolfe

Japan, Australia to provide F-35 maintenance sites in Pacific region

Lockheed Martin photograph by Andy Wolfe An F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighter carrier variant prepares to launch from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Pacific Ocean, Nov. 6, 2014. Japan and Australia will be sharing...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>