First course developed to 'train the trainers' about radiation and nuclear exposure

July 26, 2007

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - In the event of a radiation or nuclear attack by terrorists, it will be essential to provide the public with accurate information on risks and how to minimize health effects. Working with a team of the nation's top radiation biologists, a scientist at Wake Forest University School of Medicine is developing an Internet-based training course to help radiation experts meet this challenge. The course, which will also be available on CD, will provide critical information that professionals in radiological sciences need to act as trainers and spokespersons during a radiologic or nuclear incident.

"The vast majority of general practitioners, emergency responders, and even many radiologists, have little understanding of the health consequences of a radiological or nuclear event," said lead researcher Michael Robbins, Ph.D., a professor and the section head of radiation biology in the department of radiation oncology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. "Given the recent events in the geopolitical climate, it now appears increasingly likely that a terrorist-generated radiological or nuclear event could occur within the US. Efforts need to be made to provide the public, and more specifically key professionals, with accurate information about the health consequences of such an event."

Robbins, a leading radiation biologist who studies the long-term effects of radiation, will provide the introductory lecture in the eight-hour course. Using data from atomic bomb and radiation exposure survivors, he will give basic knowledge of radiation and its biological effects, and medical management of an exposure.

William McBride, D. Sc., vice-chair for experimental radiation oncology, University of California at Los Angeles, will give the second lecture on cell death in radiation. McBride is the past president of the Radiation Research Society, the premier U.S. scientific organization in the area of radiation biology, chemistry and physics.

Joel Greenberger, M.D., from the University of Pittsburgh, will give the third lecture on oxidative stress and radiation biology. Greenberger is the chair of the department of radiation oncology and the deputy of the Lung Cancer Center at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also world-renowned for his research in the use of antioxidant enzymes in treating radiation-induced injury.

Jeffrey Schwartz, Ph.D., from the University of Washington, will provide the fourth lecture on the role of bone marrow transplantation in a radiation incident. Schwartz is a radiation biologist from one of the leading bone marrow transplant centers in the U.S., the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

The fifth lecture will be addressed by Alan D'Andrea, M.D., chief, Division of Genomic Stability and DNA Repair, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard University, regarding the DNA damage response. D'Andrea has extensively researched rare human genetic diseases and has developed unique models for investigating the cellular response to radiation.

Jacqueline Williams, Ph.D., from the University of Rochester, will lead the sixth lecture on tissue damage following low doses of radiation. Williams has an international reputation in the pathogenesis and treatment of radiation-induced late effects, particularly in the brain and lungs, and is currently program director of Radiation Medicine, Center for Disaster Medicine and Emergency Preparedness, Rochester, N.Y.

Stephen Brown, M.D., from the Department of Radiation Oncology, Wayne State Medical School in Detroit, has more than 15 years experience in radiation biology research. He is giving the seventh lecture on lung, kidney and brain response to radiation.

The eighth and final lecture, given by Eric Hall, D.Phil., D.Sc., from Columbia University, will be on the cancer-causing effects of long-term exposure to low doses of radiation. Hall is director of the Center for Radiological Research, Columbia University, and author of one of the most widely used sources for radiation biology education, "Radiobiology for the Radiologist."

"The medical community will benefit greatly from having relevant information from which to base an appropriate response to the various risks posed by a radiological terrorist event. Such a program is not currently available," said Robbins.
-end-
The course will be available free and is anticipated to be completed by April 2008. Funding for the project has been provided by the Radiological Society of North America Research and Education Foundation. Media contact: Shannon Koontz, shkoontz@wfubmc.edu, or Karen Richardson, krchrdsn@wfubmc.edu, at (336) 716-4587.

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university's School of Medicine. U.S. News & World Report ranks Wake Forest University School of Medicine 18th in primary care and 44th in research among the nation's medical schools. It ranks 35th in research funding by the National Institutes of Health. Almost 150 members of the medical school faculty are listed in Best Doctors in America.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.