HERO Twin Astronaut Study Consortium (TASC): Immunome Changes in Space (Twins Study - Mignot) - 07.14.16
Although identical twins are genetically almost the same, differences in environment, diet and other outside factors can affect their health in different ways. The Twins Study is an integrated compilation of ten studies at multiple research centers that examines the effects of space travel on twin astronauts, one of whom stays on the International Space Station for one year while his twin remains on Earth. HERO Twin Astronaut Study Consortium (TASC): Immunome Changes in Space (Twins Study - Mignot) characterizes the personalized changes in the immune system of an astronaut, as well as that system’s response to a seasonal flu vaccination, before, during, and after return to Earth; the study compares the results to those of his twin brother who remained on Earth, and looks at how they relate to the various changes noted by other Twins Study investigators. Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending Experiment Details
Emmanuel J. Mignot, M.D, Ph.D., Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, United States
Mark M. Davis, Ph.D., Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States
Michael Snyder, Ph.D., Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States
NASA Johnson Space Center, Human Research Program, Houston, TX, United States
Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)
Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery, Space Exploration
ISS Expedition Duration
March 2015 - September 2015
- The Twins Study provides the extraordinary opportunity to control variables of individual genetic differences, susceptibilities and lifestyle factors, making differential effects observed between the twins spaceflight-specific.
- The HERO Twin Astronaut Study Consortium (TASC): Immunome Changes in Space (Twins Study - Mignot) studies how long-term space travel affects the immune system.
- This investigation also examines how parameters of the immune system change at baseline and after a seasonal flu vaccination with spaceflight as compared to a ground-based control.
The immune system is weakened in space, posing a heightened risk of infection for crew members on long-duration missions. This investigation examines how the immune system changes after a seasonal flu vaccine, both in space and on the ground. Results are expected to improve the understanding of how humans adapt to spaceflight and could lead to better countermeasures to protect crew health.
Environmental stress, radiation and diet can cause chemical changes in the body that affect the immune system, as well as cognitive function, metabolism, gut flora, and genetics. This investigation studies how the immune system changes when an astronaut is exposed to a physically challenging environment and how immune response to a seasonal flu vaccination differs between the twin who was in space and the one who remained on Earth. This information may prove useful in the development of new treatments and preventive measures for related health issues on Earth.
Operational Requirements and Protocols
Decadal Survey Recommendations
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Main Twins Study