Emergency Test for Absorbed Radiation

The HHS is spending more than $44 million to develop 2 biodosimetry tests to determine how much radiation patients have absorbed over time.


In a large-scale emergency involving radiation, health care providers need to know how much radiation a survivor has absorbed to be able to determine treatment. Devices are available that detect radiation externally, for example, on skin, but no biodosimetry tests are approved to measure radiation absorbed into the body.

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To help save more people in such an emergency, the HHS is sponsoring development of 2 biodosimetry tests to determine radiation absorption. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority will provide more than $22.4 million over 2 years to DxTerity Diagnostics in Los Angeles and more than $21.3 million over 4 years to MRIGloba in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Both tests, which are being designed for use in clinical health care labs, analyze blood samples to measure how genes respond to different amounts of radiation. The tests are expected to generate results in about 8 hours and to be used up to 7 days after exposure. The manufacturers estimate a potential to process 400,000 or more tests a week.

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