A NASA study on living in space may be helping patients in Oregon fight cancer.

A NASA study on living in space may be helping patients in Oregon fight cancer.


NASA

After a year in space an astronaut can expect a lot of physical changes — according to a new study released Thursday by NASA.

A co-author of that study, Dr. Brian Piening, says the work has informed his efforts to fight cancer at Providence Health and Services in Portland.

Piening worked for years on the NASA project that sent Scott Kelly to the International Space Station, while his twin brother Mark Kelly stayed on earth, retired in Arizona.

Piening said they looked at all the biological changes in Scott, from his gut flora and fauna to his metabolism, his RNA and DNA.

“A lot of the genes that got activated were part of his DNA damage response, or his radiation response. And these are the same genes that we see changing in cancer patients,” said Piening.

“A lot the genes that got activated were part of his DNA damage response, or his radiation response. And these are the same genes that we see changing in cancer patients,” said Dr. Brian Piening with Providence Health.

“A lot the genes that got activated were part of his DNA damage response, or his radiation response. And these are the same genes that we see changing in cancer patients,” said Dr. Brian Piening with Providence Health.

Kristian Foden-Vencil/OPB

Piening said cancer patients need comprehensive testing like Scott Kelly received, because medicines now have to be formulated to tackle particular tumors.

The NASA study was published this week in the journal Science.