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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Korean researchers identify effect of radiation on humans in groundbreaking study

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A Korean research team identified the mutational impact of radiation on human and animal cells in the first study of its kind ever to shed clear light on the ways and extent radiation affects the human body.

The latest findings serve as a crucial milestone in radiation oncology, according to press release from KAIST on Thursday, as it gives insight into the precise patterns of human cell mutations that radiation induces during cancer treatment.

The study was jointly conducted by a team led by medical professor Ju Young-seok of KAIST’s Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering, with Dongnam Institute of Radiological & Medical Sciences (Dirams) researcher Son Tae-gen’s team and a Seoul National University research team led by radiation oncology professors Kim Kyung-su and Chang Ji-hyun of the College of Medicine.

Clockwise from the top left: Professor Ju Young-seok of KAIST’s Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering; Son Tae-gen, a researcher at the Dongnam Institute of Radiological & Medical Sciences; Chang Ji-hyun and Kim Kyung-su of the Seoul National University's College of Medicine [KAIST]
Clockwise from the top left: Professor Ju Young-seok of KAIST’s Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering; Son Tae-gen, a researcher at the Dongnam Institute of Radiological & Medical Sciences; Chang Ji-hyun and Kim Kyung-su of the Seoul National University’s College of Medicine [KAIST]

The joint team exposed organs from humans and rats to varying degrees of radiation to gain a comprehensive understanding of its impact on the human body, and successfully identified certain patterns of mutations that increased in proportion to the amount of radiation exposure in 200 cell genome sequences, according to KAIST.

One gray of radiation — which equals about 320-years’ worth of natural radiation exposure — induces some 14 mutations in a single cell, the study found.

The latest study has “clearly established the impact of radiation on cells at the molecule level,” said KAIST’s Ju, adding that “it is the first identification of how and to what extent radiation mutates the DNA in our cells.”

Dirams’ Son said that “based on the findings of the study, we will further look into the impact of ultra-low and ultra-high doses of radiation on the human body,” adding that the goal is to “develop safer and more efficient radiation therapy.”

The research paper was published online in the academic journal Cell Genomics on Wednesday under the title “Quantitative and qualitative mutational impact of ionizing radiation on normal cells.”

BY SHIN HA-NEE [shin.hanee@joongang.co.kr]