Public Release: 

ASU multi-million program to develop an automated, high-throughput radiological test

Rapid diagnostic test to estimate absorbed radiation in case of a nuclear incident

Arizona State University


IMAGE: The need to rapidly screen a population for possible radiation exposure in the event of a nuclear incident has led to a multi-year, multi-million government, academic and industry collaboration. These... view more

Credit: Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University

Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute announced today it is entering a new, $7M phase of a multi-million, multi-institutional development project to produce a diagnostic test to measure an individual's level of absorbed radiation in the event of an unplanned radiological or nuclear event.

Currently, there is no U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared or approved, high-throughput system to measure the radiation dose absorbed by individuals within a large population. The ASU Radiation Biodosimetry System (ARad©), developed in collaboration with Thermo Fisher Scientific, is a real-time quantitative PCR-based (polymerase chain reaction), multi-gene panel designed to estimate absorbed radiation. The project is entering the verification phase with the goal of seeking clearance from the U.S. FDA.

"We are extremely proud to be moving forward into the device verification phase and planning validation studies needed for FDA submission. These efforts combine ASU's development of radiation biomarkers, automation and software for estimating an individual's absorbed dose with Thermo Fisher's expertise in the product commercialization process," said Joshua LaBaer, director of the Biodesign Institute's Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics. "Our research team's ultimate goal is to translate our discoveries into an automated high-throughput diagnostic system for radiation biodosimetry that is capable of processing a high volume of blood samples per day."

The project is part of a potential $34.7 million in total funds authorized by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a federal agency within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The assay utilizes the Applied Biosystems brand of qPCR Dx instruments for gene expression analysis.

"Thermo Fisher and its long heritage of providing leading qPCR technologies for molecular detection is uniquely suited to drive the ARad Biodosimetry Project with ASU," said Mark Smedley, president of Genetic Sciences at Thermo Fisher. "We are looking forward to continuing our partnership and enabling the next phase of this important work, which represents a novel approach to protect public safety."

"A critical part of the success of this project are the medical clinics and numerous volunteers that have provided blood samples to enable development of this medical device, many of whom are undergoing radiotherapy procedures," said Kristin Gillis, senior scientific project manager of the ARad Radiation Biodosimetry Project.

Collaborators to the team include: Dr. Joshua LaBaer, Director of the ASU Biodesign Institute and of the institute's Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics; Sally Amundson, Professor of Radiation Oncology at Columbia's Center for Radiological Research; and Principal Investigators at City of Hope, Stanford University and Mayo Clinic, providing critical access to patient clinical samples.


This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Office of the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. HHS0100201000008C.

Media contact:

Joe Caspermeyer, (480) 727-0369;

About the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University

The Biodesign Institute addresses today's critical global challenges in health care, sustainability and security by developing solutions inspired from natural systems and translating those solutions into commercially viable products and clinical practices.

About the U.S. DHHS Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA)

BARDA, within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, uses a comprehensive portfolio approach to the advanced research and development, stockpile acquisition, innovation, and manufacturing infrastructure building of the necessary vaccines, drugs, therapeutics, diagnostic tools, and non-pharmaceutical products for public health medical emergencies including chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats, as well as pandemic influenza, and emerging infectious diseases.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.