Madrid, P. B., & Chang, P. Y. (2022). Accelerating space radiation countermeasure development through drug repurposing. Life Sciences in Space Research, 35, 30-35.
The discovery of safe and effective radiation countermeasures (MCM) for long-duration spaceflight is challenging due to the complexity of the space radiation biology and high safety requirements. There are few if any clinically-validated molecular targets for this use case, and preclinical models have several known limitations. These challenges make the evaluation of existing FDA-approved drugs for this indication, or drug repurposing, an attractive strategy to accelerate space radiation countermeasure development. Drug repurposing offers several advantages over de novo drug discovery including established manufacturing methods, human clinical safety data, and well-understood dosing and pharmacokinetic considerations. There are limitations working with a fixed set of possible candidate compounds, but some properties of repurposed drugs can be tailored for well-defined new indications through reformulation and development of drug combinations. Drug repurposing is thus an attractive strategy for mitigating the high risks and costs of drug development and delivering new countermeasures to protect human from space radiation in long-term missions.