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Our increasing knowledge of the functioning of the immune system, particularly its defence mechanisms against physical external agents, allows us to measure the effects of acute exposure to ionising radiation more precisely, and to establish a clinical protocol to be followed in the event of overexposure. In such a situation it is particularly important to accurately determine the body's response over time.

Some applications of ionising radiation in a medical context are particularly important in specific clinical sectors, both from a diagnostic point of view, e.g. in identifying the most appropriate immunological indicators for quantitative measurement of radiation exposure, and from a therapeutic point of view, mainly in relation to immunological treatment of rejection of kidney or bone marrow transplants. In addition, good results have been obtained in treating glioblastoma by radioimmunotherapy using monoclonal antibodies bound to biotin followed by injection of radioisotope-labelled avidin.

The immunosuppressant effects of radiation used in radiotherapy to treat neoplasms or hyperplasia require adequate corrective treatment to ensure that the body's immune defences are effective.

Additional information

Authors: ESPOSITO P L, Università degli Studi di Udine (IT);MALVICINI A, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: An oral report given at: XXXI Congresso Nazionale Organised by: Associazione Italiana di Radioprotezione Held at: Ancona (IT), 20-22 settembre 2000
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