Although ionizing radiation has many practical uses in medicine, research, and other areas, it presents a health hazard if used improperly. Radiation exposure causes damage to living tissue and can result in sickness, cancer, or death.
SRI is developing a radiation biodosimeter—a low-cost, hand-held point-of-care device—that can rapidly assess a person's exposure to ionizing radiation to determine the need for additional testing and treatment by healthcare professionals. Experts from all of SRI's research divisions are collaborating on this project, contributing their multidisciplinary knowledge to develop a device that is accurate, field-ready, and easy to use.
SRI researchers will perform clinical testing to assess the biodosimeter's ability to quickly measure the amount of radiation exposure and provide test results within 15 minutes. SRI will perform this assessment by quantitatively interrogating biomarkers—certain biological substances found in bodily fluids such as blood.
To enhance the biodosimeter's rapid sensing and detection capabilities, SRI is applying upconverting phosphor technology (UPT™). UPT offers several advantages for rapid biomarker detection, including:
- High sensitivity due to zero optical background
- Many unique colors excited by the same laser for multiplexing
- Robustness due to the lack of photobleaching
- Diode laser readout for compact, long-lasting sensors
This concerted R&D effort is one example of how SRI applies innovative technologies to meet the needs of first responders, with the potential of saving thousands of lives.
This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Office of the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. HHSO100201000007C