By having a three year and 140 million mile journey, a new research has recently found that for those who wanted to travel through space and reach the red planet will be facing a heightened risk of developing leukemia since they will be exposed to dangerous levels of radiation. For the time using mice transplanted with human stem cells, the NASA-funded study has allegedly demonstrated that the radiation encountered in deep space travel may affect the ability to create key infection-fighting cells which is known for actively targeting infections and tumors. That said, the research team from the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine has claimed that the exposure then created the tendency to weaken their immune system, leaving them more prone to radiation-induced cancer.
How A Trip To Mars Can Give You Leukemia
In one of her statements revealed by Science Daily, associate professor of regenerative medicine, Christopher Porada, Ph.D., who also happens to be the senior researcher on the project, has claimed that the study results can be considered as troubling because they show radiation exposure could potentially increase the risk of leukemia in two ways. Porada said that it is however rewarding to use their expertise in stem cells in order to help NASA in evaluating the potential health risks of space travel and hopefully develop certain strategies that would enable them to address these health hazards. NASA authorities have also added that radiation exposure has long been believed to be one of the most dangerous aspects of traveling to Mars.
Furthermore, according to Daily Mail, studies conducted reveals that during a journey through space, travelers are exposed to high amounts of solar energetic particles and galactic cosmic rays. In turn, by being able to simulate these scenarios in a laboratory setting, the researchers have been able to reportedly assess their direct effects on mice with the help from human hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) obtained from healthy donors. Additionally, scientists have explained that HSCs were the ones responsible for the production of blood cells that circulate through the body and transport oxygen, fight infections and eliminate any malignancies.
Significance Of The Study
Meanwhile, the research team has highly emphasized that the current study is of great significance because it shows that radiation affected cells at the stem cell level where it can cause mutations in genes involved in the hematopoietic process, and dramatically reduce the ability of HSCs to give rise to mature blood cells. As of the press time, NASA's Human Research Program is not only exploring the effects of radiation, but also conditions of microgravity, isolation and confinement, hostile and closed environments, and distance from earth. It was found that the primary goal of the research is to make space missions as safe as possible.