ASU chosen for team developing radiation-absorption test
Device could test thousands of people quickly in event of nuclear explosion
Arizona State University has been selected for a team that will complete development of a test that could save thousands of lives in the event of a nuclear explosion.
The test is one of the first to be able to determine how much radiation has been absorbed by a person exposed to a radiological event. It is capable of testing thousands of people quickly.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response will fund the project.
“It’s a major piece of technology,” said William Pavlicek, chair of the Division of Diagnostic Physics in the Department of Diagnostic Radiology at Mayo Clinic. “This is an extraordinarily important development.”
In a large-scale nuclear emergency, hundreds of thousands of people will need to be assessed for injuries and illness caused by high doses of radiation. Doctors would need to know how much radiation each person has absorbed to determine what type of treatment to provide. People with toxic levels of exposure can go for days without showing symptoms, according to Pavlicek.
“This is specifically about a nuclear event,” principal investigator Josh LaBaer said. “It’s the kind of test you hope will never, ever, be used.”
“There would be no way (with existing methods) to determine who had been exposed to radiation and how much they had (absorbed),” said LaBaer, director of the Biodesign Institute’s Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics.
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