REAC/TS—An international thought leader in radiation emergency medicine

REAC/TS Nurse/Paramedic Angie Bowen instructs emergency personnel during a hands-on course demonstration

REAC/TS Nurse/Paramedic Angie Bowen instructs emergency personnel during a hands-on course demonstration

February 17, 2021

In addition to being on-call 24/7 for radiological and nuclear incidents, REAC/TS subject matter experts also contribute to the emergency medical response community by publishing research findings related to radiation exposure, sharing technical expertise at conferences across the globe and educating first responders and first receivers on the management and treatment of those with radiation illnesses or injuries. Here some highlights of recent activities from the past few months.

REAC/TS Contractor Physician Ronald Goans presented on “Ultrasound Analysis of Acute Local Radiation Injury” at the Health Physics Society Virtual Workshop. The information provided in this presentation was the culmination of work he and REAC/TS Director Carol Iddins performed that assessed various imaging techniques used to evaluate cutaneous injuries caused by ionizing radiation. The session hosted 244 participants from around the world and contributed to the professional understanding of the assessment and treatment of these injuries.

Iddins and REAC/TS Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Laboratory Director Adayabalam Balajee were both invited presenters the National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP) Program Area Committee (PAC) 3 meeting. Iddins presented on “Testing: An Overview of SARS-CoV-2 in Comparison to Radiological/Nuclear Response” and Balajee presented on “Current Perspectives on Point of Care (POC) Biodosimetry Tools.” NCRP PAC 3 addresses nuclear and radiological safety and security and had 25 members in attendance for these presentations. 

Iddins also presented on “Resources and Response to a Radiological/Nuclear Scenario” for the American Osteopathic College of Occupational and Preventive Medicine for their annual meeting. This meeting hosted 40 participants and helped inform and strengthen the medical emergency response network that would be called upon in a radiological or nuclear incident.

REAC/TS Nurse/Paramedic Angie Bowen was an invited speaker for the “Tennova Connect” Healthcare Lecture Series. Her presentation on “Dispelling Common Myths about Radiation Illness and Injury” was attended by 72 pre-hospital emergency care providers from across Tennessee and neighboring states. This presentation helped educate and build relationships with the regional emergency medical services community.

Iddins, Bowen, and Health Physicist Jason Davis presented at the Chemical and Radiological Agents of Opportunity for Terrorism Course. American College of Medical Toxicology, REAC/TS, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention organized the virtual course that was hosted by the University Medical Center New Orleans in collaboration with the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The radiological portion of this course hosted 142 participants from across the U.S., including all levels of medical first responders and first receivers, emergency managers and planners, and military responders. This course enhanced interagency collaboration and provided valuable information to community care providers about response to terrorist threats involving radiological "agents of opportunity." 

Balajee was an invited participant in an international meeting to review and finalize two International Organization for Standardization (ISO) documents on cytogenetic biodosimetry: ISO 21243 (Radiation protection — Performance criteria for laboratories performing initial cytogenetic dose assessment of mass casualties in radiological or nuclear emergencies — General principles and application to dicentric assay) and ISO 19238 (Radiological Protection — Performance criteria for service laboratories performing biological dosimetry by cytogenetics). The meeting was attended by a panel of 15 international participants from Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Once approved, these ISO documents will serve as guidelines for performing radiation cytogenetic biodosimetry.

Balajee co-authored a manuscript published in Nature Communications. The manuscript entitled “Radiation-induced DNA damage and repair effects on 3D genome organization,” describes how the authors applied genetic, molecular, and computational approaches to explore how the human 3D genome responds to ionizing radiation exposure. Human DNA, the blueprint of life, is organized in a three dimensional structure in a cell’s nucleus and this approach could be helpful for investigating the role of 3D genome organization in various sporadic and hereditary human diseases. This research project between ORISE’s managing contractor ORAU and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, resulted from an ORAU Directed Research and Development grant.

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The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) asset that is dedicated to enabling critical scientific, research, and health initiatives of the department and its laboratory system by providing world class expertise in STEM workforce development, scientific and technical reviews, and the evaluation of radiation exposure and environmental contamination.

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