Berkeley Lab

Health Effects

Health_impactAlleviating the Health Impact of Radiation Exposure

  • Study of radiological effects
  • Development of prophylactic agents and decorporation technologies
  • Development of high-throughput and fast-analysis technologies to characterize and predict individual radiation induced DNA damage and repair capabilities
  • Berkeley local points-of-contact: Dr. Rebecca Abergel and Dr. Sylvain Costes

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Following a radiological or nuclear accident, a large population may be at risk for external exposure and internal contamination. Ionizing radiation leads to DNA damage that can cause acute toxicity or long-term risks, such as cancer. In order to respond quickly, methods that characterize the dose and type of radiation exposure, assess associated health effects on individuals, predetermine sensitive populations, and guide triage and mitigation need to be implemented.

Berkeley Lab’s novel high-throughput imaging platform, which quantifies radiation-induced DNA damage in blood samples, can be used to characterize and predict DNA effects from exposure to internal contamination and external ionizing radiation, identify individuals at risk from exposure, monitor the efficiency of mitigating agents, and predict long-term cancer risk.

Furthermore, novel chelating agents recently developed at Berkeley Lab for post-exposure decorporation have demonstrated strong prophylactic potential and will be tested as therapeutics for contaminated individuals. Developing and delivering protective prophylactic and post-exposure medical agents are essential for mitigating radiation health effects in individuals.