Innovation and Partnerships Office

Human Blood Molecular Biodosimeter Panel for Distinguishing Radiation Exposure from Inflammation Stress IB-3304


  • Radiation oncology
  • Medical triage
  • Rapid response in cases of population exposure to ionizing radiation


  • Can be used in a small, handheld device
  • Faster results
  • Higher precision


Berkeley Lab researchers Andrew Wyrobek and Antoine Snijders have identified a panel of gene and protein biomarkers that will help medical professionals quickly and accurately determine whether and how much radiation damage a patient has received. The team has developed a nine-gene panel that can discriminate irradiated from unirradiated blood samples, independent of the presence or absence of inflammation stress, which can be a confounding factor in determining a patient’s radiation exposure. The technique can also distinguish between exposure to radiation only, inflammation stress only, or a combination of the two.

The Berkeley Lab team’s invention – with its smaller gene panel than any published before – can be used as a blood test via a small handheld device similar to that used by diabetes patients to check blood sugar. Such a device would be a boon to medical personnel to quickly identify those exposed to high radiation doses in need of immediate care.

Biological markers of exposure to ionizing radiation in human populations are of great interest for assessing normal tissue injury in radiation oncology and for biodosimetry in nuclear incidents and accidental radiation exposures. Employing biochemical markers would give diagnosticians the potential to use high-throughput methods for initial triage as well as to estimate the dose of exposure.

Current approaches to biodosimetry – such as assessing physical effects (vomiting and blood lymphocyte kinetics) and cellular determinants such as cytogenetic dosimetry – are time-consuming, and their results too slow to indicate who needs immediate medical intervention after irradiation. The Berkeley Lab technology provides faster results to identify such patients and would be of use in radiation oncology to assess tissue injury as well as in accidental exposure incidents.

STATUS: Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaborative research.

DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Results of the researchers’ testing and development are described in the publication linked below.


Budworth H, Snijders AM, Marchetti F, Mannion B, Bhatnagar S, et al. (2012) DNA Repair and Cell Cycle Biomarkers of Radiation Exposure and Inflammation Stress in Human Blood. PLoS ONE 7(11): e48619. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048619


Assay to Determine Sensitivity to Radiation, IB-3203