Models for evaluating agents intended for the prophylaxis, mitigation and treatment of radiation injuries report of an NCI workshop, December 3-4, 2003
Cell Physiological Phenomena
To develop approaches to prophylaxis/protection, mitigation and treatment of radiation injuries, appropriate models are needed that integrate the complex events that occur in the radiation-exposed organism. While the spectrum of agents in clinical use or preclinical development is limited, new research findings promise improvements in survival after whole-body irradiation and reductions in the risk of adverse effects of radiotherapy. Approaches include agents that act on the initial radiochemical events, agents that prevent or reduce progression of radiation damage, and agents that facilitate recovery from radiation injuries. While the mechanisms of action for most of the agents with known efficacy are yet to be fully determined, many seem to be operating at the tissue, organ or whole animal level as well as the cellular level. Thus research on prophylaxis/protection, mitigation and treatment of radiation injuries will require studies in whole animal models. Discovery, development and delivery of effective radiation modulators will also require collaboration among researchers in diverse fields such as radiation biology, inflammation, physiology, toxicology, immunology, tissue injury, drug development and radiation oncology. Additional investment in training more scientists in radiation biology and in the research portfolio addressing radiological and nuclear terrorism would benefit the general population in case of a radiological terrorism event or a large-scale accidental event as well as benefit patients treated with radiation.