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Radiation and Nuclear Countermeasures Program

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Infrastructure for Research and Product Development

NIH Plans for Infrastructure for Research and Product Development

Immediate Goals

  • Establish a collaborative research network focused on the identification and development of medical countermeasures to radiation exposure
  • Promote integration and collaboration in radiobiology research and training among government organizations, academia, and private industry
  • Support centralized facilities for efficient, carefully standardized testing and validation of new products

Long-Term Goals

  • Attract a new generation of scientists in radiobiology research and radiation chemistry through training and mentoring programs
  • Support bioinformatics and specialized technology centers for radiobiology research

Current Infrastructure for Radiation Countermeasures Research

The Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI) has served as the lead agency for research in radiation biology for the operational and medical support of Department of Defense (DOD) services. The relative importance of radiobiology research waned over the past decade, however, and no federal agency has ever had primary responsibility for the development of radiation countermeasures for the civilian population, whose needs are significantly different from those of the military. Thus, the current cadre of investigators conducting research into medical countermeasures for radiological injury is small, the infrastructure to support such research is inadequate, and only a few small training programs in the radiological health sciences exist. Moreover, the physical infrastructure and other support (e.g., biostatistical services, GLP-certified facilities) are limited for high-quality basic and translational research and are particularly lacking for development and licensure of experimental dosimetry and radiological countermeasures.

Agenda for Radiation Countermeasure Research Infrastructure Enhancement

The primary mechanism to support infrastructure enhancement will be the Centers for Medical Countermeasures Against Radiation program, which will help to expand both physical and human infrastructure devoted to radiation countermeasures research. Examples of support to be provided by the research centers program, as well as other programs in this area, include

  • Training in radiation health-related sciences
  • Assay development projects
  • Animal model development
  • Preclinical testing of promising products (toxicity, pharmacokinetics, efficacy)
  • Laboratory renovations and special equipment

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Last Updated September 19, 2005