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To summarize presentations and discussions from the 2022 trans-agency workshop titled “Overlapping Science in Radiation and Sulfur Mustard (SM) Exposures of Skin and Lung: Consideration of Models, Mechanisms, Organ Systems, and Medical Countermeasures.”
Summary on topics includes: 1) an overview of the radiation and chemical countermeasure development programs and missions; 2) regulatory and industry perspectives for drugs and devices; 3) pathophysiology of skin and lung following radiation or SM exposure; 4) mechanisms of action/targets, biomarkers of injury; and 5) animal models that simulate anticipated clinical responses.
There are striking similarities between injuries caused by radiation and SM exposures. Primary outcomes from both types of exposure include acute injuries, while late complications comprise chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, and vascular dysfunction, which can culminate in fibrosis in both skin and lung organ systems. This workshop brought together academic and industrial researchers, medical practitioners, U.S. Government program officials and regulators to discuss lung-, and skin-specific animal models and biomarkers, novel pathways of injury and recovery, and paths to licensure for products to address radiation or SM injuries.
Regular communications between the radiological and chemical injury research communities can enhance the state-of-the-science, provide a unique perspective on novel therapeutic strategies, and improve overall U.S. Government emergency preparedness.
A national need is to prepare for and respond to accidental or intentional disasters categorized as chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive (CBRNE). These incidents require specific subject-matter expertise, yet have commonalities. We identify 7 core elements comprising CBRNE science that require integration for effective preparedness planning and public health and medical response and recovery. These core elements are (1) basic and clinical sciences, (2) modeling and systems management, (3) planning, (4) response and incident management, (5) recovery and resilience, (6) lessons learned, and (7) continuous improvement. A key feature is the ability of relevant subject matter experts to integrate information into response operations. We propose the CBRNE medical operations science support expert as a professional who (1) understands that CBRNE incidents require an integrated systems approach, (2) understands the key functions and contributions of CBRNE science practitioners, (3) helps direct strategic and tactical CBRNE planning and responses through first-hand experience, and (4) provides advice to senior decision-makers managing response activities. Recognition of both CBRNE science as a distinct competency and the establishment of the CBRNE medical operations science support expert informs the public of the enormous progress made, broadcasts opportunities for new talent, and enhances the sophistication and analytic expertise of senior managers planning for and responding to CBRNE incidents.
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