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Enhancing Nuclear Safety


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MULTIBIODOSE program

​Last update on November 2015



MULTIBIODOSE (Multi-disciplinary biodosimetric tools to manage high scale radiological casualties) is a project launched as part of the FP7 Euratom program in May 2010 and which came to an end in April 2013. Its aim has been to improve and develop the operational capacities of different biodosimetric tools for large-scale accidental irradiation situations.


Background and goals
In the event of a large-scale radiological emergency, triage of the victims of irradiation is based on the assessment of clinical symptoms (frequency of vomiting, complete blood count, frequency of headaches, appearance of erythema, etc.). Triage serves to identify the people that have been seriously exposed and need to receive the appropriate medical treatment, separating them from people who have suffered low or no irradiation and who do not require immediate treatment. The clinical symptoms shown are directly dependent on the dose received by the victim and on the volume of the body irradiated.

A certain number of biodosimetric tools (dicentric chromosome assay, micronucleus assay) and physical dosimetry techniques, Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy and Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) techniques) can provide additional information on the received doses. Most of these methods have already been used for accidental irradiation involving a limited number of people, but need to be tested and, if necessary, adapted for use in the event of a large-scale irradiation accident.
 
Fourteen European partners specializing in biodosimetry were involved in the MULTIBIODOSE project. It has served to define the advantages and the limits of each of the biodosimetric tools likely to be of use for large scale accidents. The techniques evaluated in the project were not biological dosimetry techniques but also physical dosimetry:
  • in biological dosimetry, one of the main objectives was to validate rapid assay methods;
  • in physical dosimetry, a new approach was studied. It consists in using materials found in mobile phone to estimate a dose either by OSL or by EPR spectroscopy.

The results of the MULTIBIODOSE project have been used in setting up the biodosimetry network currently underway as part of RENEB, the European Network of Biodosimetry Laboratories. The aim of the RENEB project is to set up a European network of laboratories specializing in biodosimetry.


Project outline
MULTIBIODOSE was organized into five work packages (WP):
  • WP1 (coordinated by BfS): Assessing the dicentric chromosome assay technique that can be used to provide biological data to rapidly identify victims who have received the highest doses;
  • WP2 (coordinated by Ghent University): Assessing the blood lymphocyte micronucleus assay technique that can be used to provide biological data to rapidly identify victims who have received the highest doses;
  • WP3 (coordinated by HPA): Developing and assessing the Gamma-H2AX technique that can be used to provide biological data to rapidly identify victims who have received the highest doses. IRSN contributed its experience in the use of gamma-H2AX imaging and counting systems;
  • WP4 (coordinated by IRSN): Assessing SSA, the Skin Speckle Assay technique and a blood serum proteomics approach, SPA, or Serum Protein Assay, to diagnose radiological skin burns;
  • WP5 (coordinated by ISS): Developing and assessing EPR, Electronic Paramagnetic Resonance for mineral glass form LCD and touch screen of mobile phone and Optically-Stimulated Luminescence on electronic components of circuit board of mobile phone.

SRBE laboratories (LDB, LRTE) and SDE laboratory (LDRI) were involved in WP1, 3 and 5. In addition, IRSN was represented on the MULTIBIODOSE Scientific Committee.


Results
The different biodosimetric methods have been harmonized in order for them to be used by the European Network of Biodosimetry Laboratories and improve the response in a radiological emergency. At this stage, these techniques can be used for consolidating diagnoses for a substantial number of casualties. Skin Speckle Assay (SSA), Serum Protein Assay (SPA) and EPR spectroscopy have not been validated due to their lack of technical maturity.

A software package has been developed, integrating and collating the results from each biodosimetric tool. The exposed person can thus be categorized by the software according to the dose received: green (< 1Gy), yellow (1-2 Gy), red (> 2 Gy). The software has been designed so that new biodosimetric tools can be integrated in the future.

Operational guidelines were published in May 2013, for use by the authorities involved in radiation protection and emergency response management. It describes the potential uses and limitations of the biodosimetric tools (the tools tested as part of the project), and sets out what to do in the event of a radiological emergency. It also contains a list of the laboratories trained in the use of these tools in the event of a radiological emergency.


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