Ionizing radiation produces immediate, characteristic chromosome changes. Chromosome biodosimetry studies are a definitive test for occupational radiation exposure, other mass radiation emergency situations, or monitoring long term effects such as cancer. A major change results in chromosomes containing 2 constrictions, termed centromeres, instead of one (dicentric chromosomes [DCs], Figure 1). The analysis requires special expertise and microscopy equipment, is labor intensive and slow. In an emergency response to a mass casualty with exposure to a wide, unknown range of doses, biodosimetry labs will have an acute need for more methods that accurately and rapidly identify DCs within a few days. This proposal will streamline data acquisition using a revolutionary wide-field microscope system developed by Huron Digital Pathology which will feed patent-pending image analysis software developed by Western researchers to automatically interpret DCs. Huron will engineer its system to capture images 10-30 fold more quickly than other existing systems and Western will validate its performance with samples prepared in our laboratory. The goal of this project is to significantly accelerate timely radiation dose estimation, preferably within 48 hrs of exposure or patient ascertainment, whichever occurs first.
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