Overview of low-level radiation exposure assessment: biodosimetry
Blakely WF, Brooks AL, Lofts RS, van der Schans GP, Voisin P.
Mil Med 2002 Feb;167(2 Suppl):20-4
The capability to make diagnostic assessments of radiation exposure is needed to support triage of radiation casualties and medical treatment decisions in military operations. At the International Conference on Low-Level Radiation Injury and Medical Countermeasures session on biodosimetry in the military, participants reviewed the field of biomarkers, covering a wide range of biological endpoints. Participants evaluated early changes associated with exposure to ionizing radiation, including chromosomal and DNA damage, gene expression and associated proteins, and DNA mutations. The use and development of advanced monitoring and diagnostic technologies compatible with military operations was emphasized. Conventional radiation bioassays require a substantial amount of time between when the sample is taken and when the data can be provided for decision making. These "reach back" bioassays are evaluated in laboratories that are not in the field; these laboratories routinely measure exposures of 25 cGy (photon equivalent levels). Detection thresholds can be reduced approximately fivefold by the addition of significant and tiresome scoring efforts. Alternative real-time biomarkers that can be measured in field laboratories or with handheld detection devices show promise as screening and clinical diagnostic tools, but they require further development and validation studies.
This work was done in collaboration with "Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, Bethesda, USA".