International Journal of Radiation Biology, November 2014; 90(11): 945–947 © 2014 Informa UK, Ltd. ISSN 0955-3002 print / ISSN 1362-3095 online DOI: 10.3109/09553002.2014.965603


11th International Conference on Health Effects of Incorporated Radionuclides Eric Ansoborlo1, Marie-Thérèse Ménager2 & Rebecca J. Abergel3 1Radiochemistry and Processes Department, Marcoule Center, Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique et aux Énergies Alternatives,

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Bagnols-sur-Cèze, 2Life Sciences Direction, Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique et aux Énergies Alternatives, Fontenay-auxRoses, France, and 3Chemical Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, USA

The 11th International Conference on Health Effects of Incorporated Radionuclides (HEIR 2013) took place at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, CA, USA over four days in October 2013. Co-organized by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories (LBNL, USA) and the Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique et aux Énergies Alternatives (CEA, France), this conference was the 11th in a series that began in 1974, in Alta, Utah, under the name ‘Biological Effects of 224Ra and Thorotrast’. Ensuing conferences in the series have taken place internationally every three to four years in Neuherberg, Germany (1976); Lisbon, Portugal (1977); Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, USA (1981); Neuherberg (1984); Bethesda, Maryland, USA (1988); Heidelberg, Germany (1994); Tokyo, Japan (1999); Neuherberg (2004); and Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA (2009). Initially focused on studies pertaining to radium and thorotrast, the scope of the meeting has evolved over time, to include a wide range of radioelements and reflect the use of modern techniques in health and human sciences in addressing questions related to the health effects of radionuclide internalization in humans and animals. The HEIR 2013 conference was well attended and hosted about 90 scientists from 10 different countries, despite being concurrent with the 2013 US Government Shutdown and the resulting absence of 15 participants from American institutions. Forty oral presentations were given over the four days and 25 posters were discussed during two poster sessions. About a third of these contributions resulted in publications included in the present special issue, comprising most of the topics addressed at the meeting. Contributions and discussions spanned a variety of fields and were organized along the following four main scientific themes:

(2) Biodosimetry, molecular biology and biochemistry (Davesne et al. 2014, Mostapha et al. 2014); (3) Biokinetics (Blanchardon et  al. 2014, Davesne and Blanchardon 2014, Doyle-Eisele et  al. 2014, Giussani 2014, Leggett et  al. 2014, Melo et  al. 2014, Weber et  al. 2014); (4) Medical countermeasures and decorporation (An et al. 2014, Bardot 2014, Griffiths et  al. 2014a, Griffiths et  al. 2014b, Kastl et al. 2014, Leiterer et al. 2014).

(1) Epidemiology, biological effects and dose assessment (Etherington et  al. 2014, Hocine et  al. 2014, Kreuzer et al. 2014, Marsh et al. 2014, Van der Meeren et al. 2014, Vostrotin et al. 2014, Zhivin et al. 2014, Zhou 2014);


Among the many important concepts and results treated during the conference, we chose to highlight the following points: ••



The first reports on the effects of radiation and radionuclide contamination in Fukushima from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) allow assessing the current situation and health risks, three years after the power plant accident. Such events raise the significance of science-based findings to delineate the health risks for population exposed to radionuclides. While most studies in the past decades have focused on the effects of acute or single exposure to radionuclides, few controlled studies have investigated the health impacts of chronic exposure to radioisotopes. Recent work on chronic cesium or uranium ingestion performed at the French Institute for Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety was reported. The need for a good understanding of radionuclide speciation in biokinetic studies was emphasized and new studies of radionuclide coordination chemistries in vitro and in vivo were discussed. The past few years have witnessed a growing understanding of molecular interactions between uranium and biological ligands, thanks to the use of new genomic and proteomic techniques. The biochemistry and molecular

Correspondence: Dr Rebecca J. Abergel, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, One Cyclotron Road, MS 70A-1150, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA. Tel:  1 (510) 486 5249. Fax:  1 (510) 486 5596. E-mail: [email protected]


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biology of radionuclides such as transuranic actinides remain largely unexplored scientific arenas and new techniques therefore promise some rapid progress in the near future. Some important progress in following radionuclide biokinetics includes the collection of new animal data for the revision of actinide (plutonium and americium) distribution models. In addition, recent biokinetic studies on uranium nanoparticles raised new questions, especially with cardiovascular risks after exposure. Finally, medical countermeasures against internal contamination with radionuclides are still limited, should a large dissemination event occur. The needs for standardized dosing regimens with existing decorporation and blocking agents (i.e. DTPA, potassium iodide, prussian blue) was highlighted. Several new oral formulations of DTPA or other agents are under advanced development for the decorporation of actinides. Finally, the development of animal models for wound and skin contamination is also ongoing, leading to new external decontamination strategies.

The topics selected above reflect the large diversity of the scientific fields and research programs related to studying the health and biological effects of incorporated radionuclides. In turn, the large multidisciplinary community of scientists assembled at the HEIR meetings over the years has continuously evidenced and supported such diversity. We respectfully thank the members of the Scientific Committee of the HEIR 2013 Conference for their invaluable help in delineating the initial scope of the meeting and reviewing and selecting abstracts for presentation. The Scientific Committee was composed of the following 16 members: R. J. Abergel (LBNL, USA), E. Ansoborlo (CEA, France), T. Azizova (Southern Urals Biophysics Institute, Russia), V. Berkowski (International Atomic Energy Agency, Austria), L. Bertelli (Los Alamos National Laboratory, USA), P. Y. Chang (SRI International, USA), R. A. Guilmette (Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, USA), J. Harrison (Health Protection Agency, UK), N. Ishigure (Nagoya University, Japan), B. W. Maidment (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, USA), M.-T. Menager (CEA, France), U. Oeh (Helmholtz Zentrum München, Germany), F. Paquet (Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire, France), N. D. Priest (Chalk River Laboratories, Canada), K. N. Raymond (University of California at Berkeley, USA), R. Wakeford (University of Manchester, UK). We also thank J. Stark, C. Mendez, D. An, and the BioActinide group of LBNL, for help with meeting organization, as well as the staff of the Claremont Hotel for administering the meeting in such a beautiful and historical venue. We express our appreciation to the organizations who generously provided financial and material support, instrumental to the success of this conference, including the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique et aux Énergies Alternatives and more specifically the French Toxicological program, the National Institute of

Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIAID/NIH, USA), the Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (IRSN, France), the Chemical Sciences Division of LBNL, and the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP, USA). Finally, we thank all of the authors and reviewers who participated in this special issue for their valuable time and insight into their respective areas of expertise.

Declaration of interest The authors report no conflicts of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of the paper.

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and americium adenosine triphosphate complexes. Int J Radiat Biol 90:966–974. Van der Meeren A, Moureau A, Griffiths NM. 2014. Macrophages as key elements of Mixed-oxide [U-Pu(O2)] distribution and pulmonary damage after inhalation? Int J Radiat Biol 90: 1095–1103. Vostrotin VV, Fell TP, Smith TJ, Romanov SA. 2014. Retrospective estimation of Plutonium-239 doses from transfer to the fetus for Mayak PA workers. Int J Radiat Biol 90:1036–1042.

Weber W, Doyle-Eisele M, Melo DR, Guilmette RA. 2014. Whole-body distribution of plutonium in rats for different routes of exposure. Int J Radiat Biol 90:1011–1018. Zhivin S, Laurier D, Guseva Canu I. 2014. Health effects of occupational exposure to uranium: Do physicochemical properties matter? Int J Radiat Biol 90:1104–1113. Zhou JY. 2014. Bias in the proportionate mortality ratio analysis of small study populations: A case on analyses of radiation and mesothelioma. Int J Radiat Biol 90:1075–1079.

11th International Conference on Health Effects of Incorporated Radionuclides.

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