Advances in biotechnology facilitate our ability to find new molecular biomarkers of radiation exposure and injury in assessable tissue such as blood, buccal smears, and hair follicles. Our goal is to develop rapid, noninvasive techniques to establish gene expression biomarkers as assay end points for radiation dose assessments of mass casualties, population monitoring, and overseeing radiotherapy patients. This work is based on the identification of cell cycle pathways associated with the repair of radiation injury. Gene expression changes provide specific physiological signals that are associated with early cellular responses to radiation injury and other toxic stressors such as biological and chemical weapons. We demonstrated proof-of-principle that changes in the relative concentrations of cellular messenger RNA can provide early, forward-field-based radiation exposure assessments within hours or days of the occurrence of a disaster. This biological dose assessment will support life-saving medical triage and patient management following a radiological or nuclear disaster. We validated several gene expression biomarkers in an ex vivo irradiated human whole blood model with a multitarget, quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (QRT-PCR) assay that measures gene expression changes over a broad dose range. Currently, we expand high-throughput capability to our validation studies. Our application of real-time QRT-PCR and other state-of-the-art technologies to biological dosimetry will enable radiation accident responders to link a patient's history of radiation dose or injury directly to the over- and under-expression of gene indicators, or in some cases, may exclude radiation exposure as a cause of illness. Our strategy is to identify, validate, and optimize gene targets and gene analysis systems for prompt examination of gene expression biomarkers as ascertainable end points for evaluation of radiation sensitivity, injury, and resistance. Our ultimate goal is to develop forward deployable molecular biodosimetry technology of practical use to the military.
Kiang JG, et al: Radiation Research 173: 319-332, 2010
Kiang JG, et al: Cell & Bioscience 2: 20, 2012
Kiang JG, et al: Journal of Cell Science & Therapy 5: 190, 2014
Swift JM, et al: Radiation Research 183: 684-692, 2015
Kiang JG, et al: Health Physics 111: 198-203, 2016
Kiang JG, et al: Mediators of Inflammation 2017: 7582093, 13 pages, 2017