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High-Throughput Automated Biodosimetry in Response to a Large-Scale Radiological Event

A High Throughput Approach to Reconstruct Partial-Body and Neutron Radiation Exposures on an Individual Basis

The need for high-throughput automated biodosimetry in response to a large-scale radiological event such as improvised nuclear device (IND) detonations stems from several considerations. The first task is triage in a non-hospital setting, which is crucial for preventing treatment locations from being overwhelmed. Second, it is critical to quantitatively reconstruct the radiation dose that the individual received to identify among an exposed population those individuals who are most likely to develop acute or late radiation injury and therefore require medical treatment. The third task is to convey credible information about radiation doses to potentially exposed individuals as quickly as possible.

Importantly, situations where radiation biodosimetry can prove useful are not limited to homogeneous total-body photon exposures, but include more complex exposure scenarios such as partial-body exposure, due to shielding of some body parts by dense structural materials or vehicles; and mixtures of densely ionizing neutrons and sparsely ionizing gamma rays, with the radiation quality and type of exposure varying between individuals. Whereas low-throughput approaches were explored previously for dealing with these situations, we sought to implement a truly high-throughput system.

In the current study, we used cytokinesis-block micronucleus (CBMN) assay data generated from a series of experiments to evaluate micronuclei (MN) yields in peripheral blood lymphocytes exposed ex vivo to photons and neutrons. Our intention was to utilize the information contained in the shapes of probability distributions for micronuclei/binucleated cell counts in peripheral blood lymphocytes to develop a CBMN-based methodology for high-throughput automatic discrimination of complex irradiation scenarios like partial-body shielding and/or neutron + photon mixtures from simpler exposures such as homogeneous total-body photon irradiation. Such a capability for rapid individualized reconstruction of exposure type on a large scale is important for making appropriate triage and treatment decisions in mass casualty situations.

Shuryak, I., Turner, H.C., Perrier, J.R. et al. A High Throughput Approach to Reconstruct Partial-Body and Neutron Radiation Exposures on an Individual BasisSci Rep10, 2899 (19 February 2020).

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