Pharmacological countermeasures for the prevention and treatment of toxic radiation exposure in space flight
John Thomas Langell
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Ionizing radiation toxicity in space poses a significant occupational risk to astronauts and is an area of critical concern for space traveling agencies. However, despite technological advances in other areas, a viable solution to this problem has not been developed. The focus of this capstone is to briefly review space radiation types, doses, and toxicities and then critically evaluate the current clinical and experimental data on pharmacological prevention and treatment of radiation toxicity. The document is intended to serve as a guide for space exploration bodies regarding available and future efficacious therapies for toxic radiation exposure and to assist with the development of a standard protocol for the prevention and treatment of radiation toxicity in space. In addition, guidance is offered for future research directions in this field of study. Based on this work, radiopreventive pharmacotherapy should be limited to the treatment of high-level solar particle event exposures. The only agent currently acceptable for this purpose is high-dose amifostine, in addition to traditional supportive measure and medications. Other agents and the treatment of low-level radiation are not recommended at this time given the limited risk/benefit ratio of these agents.
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