Poles helped develop a rapid test for radiation sickness
It only takes one day – not a week, as before – to diagnose whether someone has received a life-threatening dose of radiation and what his or her chances of survival are. Polish and American scientists have discovered markers in the blood that are responsible for radiation sickness.
Attachóthat a tragic situation occurs – there is a nuclear bomb explosion, a nuclear power plant accident or even a radiation therapy device failure. A certain group of osób may have received a life-threatening dose of ionizing radiation, and it is necessary to quickly check who needs to be dealt with first, and who can be at ease for their lives.
With the current state of knowledge, there is a big problem with this. If the radiation has led to life-threatening tissue damage, the changes are detected in a peripheral blood count test. The diagnosis here, however, can be made at the earliest after three, and usually seven days after irradiation. And it’s very póbad.
– Until now, it has been impossible to determine within the first week of an incident who has been irradiated with a lethal dose and who has been irradiated with a completely non-life-threatening dose. We, on the other hand, have developed a test thatóry will give meaningful results as early as 24 hours after irradiation. So we give the patient time to heal, says Dr. Wojciech Fendler of the Medical University of Lodz. The research, whichórych was the first author, were published on Wednesday in the "Science Translational Medicine".
The researchers (led by Prof. Dipanjana Chowdhury of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and Dr. Vijaya Singh of the Armed Forces Radiation Research Institute in Bethesda) have found markers in the blood – specifically, microRNAs thatóre evidence that someone has received a life-threatening dose of radiation. Based on these indicatorsów are also able to determine the chances of someone’s survival. For the study, the próbk of blood.
Studies have already been performed on mice and macaques (primates). The animals were irradiated with a high dose, whichóra is fatal only for some animals. – In their blood we tested several hundred róof microRNA molecules. Using statistical methods, we narrowed the search and detected three particles, które evidence of high-dose irradiation and two, whichóre allow to determine the probability of survival,” says Dr. Fendler.
The discovery of microRNAs, whichóre arises as a result of radiation
He explains that macaques are similar enough to humans that the conclusions of the research will be applicable to humans as well. – To test this, poróWe contributed the genomes of both speciesóin and we have confirmed that the microRNAs will behave analogously in the macaque and in humans, says a researcher from the University of Lodz.
Dr. Fendler explains that microRNAs are formed in our cellsórks small particles, whichóre regulate the action of genów. They are found in blood serum, are stable and can be studied quite easily by molecular biology methods. For now, it is thought that there are several thousand genericów microRNAs. In the latest study, scientists from Poland and the US have discovered that there are specific microRNAs thatóre are formed in the body as a result of strong ionizing radiation. MicroRNAs are secreted from damaged cellsórek and those whoóre prób are repairing the damage. – Reflecting what happens in the comórks, we see in blood serum. These microRNAs are something like smoke over a fire – a signal of danger – porówn Dr. Fendler.
Thanks to the research of the Polish-American team in a mass emergency situation, it will be possible to quickly survey a large population of waspsób. Blood tests will send some of the wasps awayób to home, separate groups thatóre should be under close observation, as well as to identify people with the highest risk of death and provide them with rapid therapy.
As the conversation concludesówca PAP, if a person receives a radiation dose of more than 15 Grej at once to the whole bodyów (Gy), death occurs very quickly – m.in. as a result of damage to the nervous system. On the other hand, if the dose is lower (about 10-12 Gy), irreversible damage is done to the m.in. bone marrow – m factory.in. comóre immune cells, red blood cells or platelets. In such a situation, death can occur within a few weeks of irradiation – Then the first rescue may be an urgent bone marrow transplant.
Dr. Fendler is the winner of the First TEAM project of the Foundation for Polish Science, którego aims to use microRNAs as a tool to improve the safety of radiation oncology therapy.