One of the main problems of space exploration is not so much the lack of oxygen and food (everything is successfully synthesized and grown on the same ISS today), and cosmic radiation. Background radiation ionizing radiation outside of the magnetosphere protects us hundreds of times higher than the surface of our planet. And tissue that is most exposed to cosmic radiation, is the nervous tissue of the brain, collapsing very quickly. But recently we invented the cure that will help to cope with damage to brain cells.
Often the people in space for a long time, there are disorders of cognitive functions and a number of other neurological abnormalities. It is with these manifestations and decided to fight scientists from the University of California in San Francisco. They decided to use an experimental drug PLX5622, which is currently undergoing clinical trials as anti cancer. The principle of operation PLX5622 is to block CSF1R receptor, which causes activation of neural tissue damage in radiation injury.
On the basis of one of the laboratories of NASA, namely the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory in new York, experts studied a group of mice. They irradiate comparable with the cosmic radiation levels, and then divided into two groups. One for 15 days received PLX5622, and the second remains without treatment. In the end, after 90 days, the second group left without medication, began to show long-term effects of radiation like cognitive dysfunctions, disorders of the nervous system and perception, while the first group remained completely healthy.
In the course of further experiments it was found that in brain tissue of diseased rodents revealed a large number of activated immune cells (microglia) in the nervous system, as well as the destruction of a large number of synapses. Thus, it was suggested that PLX5622 inhibits the activity of microglia that leads to the damage of brain cells. But the biggest pole of the drug is that it protects brain tissue even after quite a long time after the course of treatment, and thus quite suitable for long-term space missions.