National Security Overview

Worldwide concerns about the potential for nuclear attack or radiological terrorism (e.g., “a dirty bomb”) have escalated in our increasingly uncertain geopolitical environment. Individual health risks following exposure, as well as follow-up medical care and treatment, are directly related to radiation dose. One of the critical and, to date, unmet needs of emergency and medical care workers following such an event is accurately assessing the radiation dose individuals may have received.

Center scientists at the NIH funded CRR Center for High Throughput Minimally-Invasive Radiation Biodosimetry as well as CRR investigators funded by BARDA, The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, are developing novel assays and rapid screening techniques to enable accurate determination of individual radiation exposures in large numbers of potentially exposed persons.

At the same time, the potential population-wide health risks from exposure to screening devices employing low-dose radiation exposures (e.g., airport use of back-scatter X-ray machines) has become an area of increasing concern. The CRR has been at the forefront of efforts to evaluate individual risk and provide advice and guidance to regulatory and governmental officials.

Click here to see David Brenner testify before Congress on the matter.