Astropharmacy / Biotechnology

Pharmacogenomics Guided Spaceflight: The Intersection Between Space-flown Drugs And Space Genes

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
January 26, 2024
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Pharmacogenomics Guided Spaceflight: The Intersection Between Space-flown Drugs And Space Genes
Graphical Abstract —

Ten years ago, it was predicted that the multi-omics revolution would also revolutionize space pharmacogenomics. Current barriers related to the findable, accessible, interoperable, and reproducible use of space-flown pharmaceutical data have contributed to a lack of progress beyond application of earth-based principles.

To directly tackle these challenges, we have produced a novel database of all the drugs flown into space, compiled from publicly available ontological and spaceflight-related datasets, to exemplify analyses for describing significant spaceflight-related targets.

By focusing on mechanisms perturbed by spaceflight, we have provided a novel avenue for identifying the most relevant changes within the drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion pathways. We suggest a set of space genes, by necessity limited to available tissue types, that can be expanded and modified based on future tissue-specific and mechanistic-specific high-throughput assays.

In sum, we provide the justification and a definitive starting point for pharmacogenomics guided spaceflight as a foundation of precision medicine, which will enable long-term human habitation of the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

Theodore M. Nelson, Julianna K. Rose, Claire E. Walter, Gresia L. Cervantes-Navarro, Caleb M. Schmidt, Richard Lin, Emma Alexander, Jiang Tao Zheng, Benjamin S. Glicksberg, Julian C. Schmidt, Eliah Overbey, Brinda Rana, Hemal Patel, Michael A. Schmidt, Christopher E. Mason

Pharmacogenomics Guided Spaceflight: the intersection between space-flown drugs and space genes,


Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻