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ATCC Announces Participation with Areté on IARPA Contract to Develop New Methods for Identifying Low-dose Radiation Exposure

News Release
New ATCC building entrance at dusk with lights.

ATCC to provide biological standards to support research efforts of the Targeted Evaluation of Ionizing Radiation Exposure (TEI-REX) program.

Manassas, VA, United States

January 10, 2023
ATCC, the world’s premier biological materials management and standards organization, today announced that it would be supporting Areté, one of the four winning teams awarded a contract from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), the research and development arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), to develop novel methods for Targeted Evaluation of Ionizing Radiation Exposure (TEI-REX). 

According to IARPA, it is pursuing new technologies to identify low-dose radiation exposure, determine the exposure timeline, and pinpoint environmental factors related to the place of exposure. The TEI-REX program research goals are to protect better the health and safety of the intelligence community and military and government personnel overseas while supporting nuclear counterproliferation efforts. IARPA aims to build a fundamentally new understanding of low-dose radiation’s physical impacts on humans and organisms through advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, biomarker discovery, and analytical biology.

“As a global biological resource center, ATCC can provide high-quality biological standards for the TEI-REX program to aid scientists in their research efforts,” said Raymond H. Cypess, D.V.M., Ph.D., chairman and CEO of ATCC. “This is the first time that ATCC, as a subcontractor with Areté, has supported IARPA and its mission to push the boundaries of science to develop solutions that empower the intelligence community to do its work better and more efficiently for national security.” 

Current radiation biodosimetry technologies used to assess the effects of ionizing radiation on people may require invasive methods, such as a blood draw or tissue sample, as well as multiple collections because of the short time limit for accurate readings. Results are often variable and transient, especially at low doses. These limitations make it difficult to assess exposure on a mass scale. 

New assays using biological markers may result in more robust, accurate, and quicker ways to detect the effects of ionizing radiation on humans. Through the TEI-REX program, IARPA hopes to engineer new non-invasive technologies using samples obtained from hair, skin, sweat, and saliva, which will be easier to collect, store, ship, and analyze for months.

“ATCC is pleased to be on the team with Areté in developing a novel, non-invasive assay for detecting low-level ionizing radiation,” said Joseph Leonelli, Ph.D., senior vice president of ATCC Federal Solutions. “Our participation in this IARPA contract demonstrates ATCC’s commitment to protecting US military, intelligence, and other government personnel deployed globally, especially in environments where nuclear technology could be used.”

“At Areté, our goal is to provide superior solutions to national and global challenges,” said Karyn Apfeldorf, Ph.D., data analytics group lead at Areté. “With ATCC’s expertise, assay development resources, and critical biological reagents to support the team’s work on this contract, I know we can help the TEI-REX program find new technologies to provide greatly enhanced characterization and quantification of low-dose radiation exposure better.”

About ATCC

ATCC is a premier global biological materials and information resource and standards organization and the leading developer and supplier of authenticated cell lines, microorganisms, and associated data for academia, industry, and government. With a history of scientific contributions spanning nearly a century, ATCC offers an unmatched combination of being the world’s largest and most diverse collection of biological reference materials and data, and is a mission-driven, trusted partner that supports and encourages scientific collaboration. ATCC products, services, partnerships, and people provide the global scientific community with credible, advanced, model systems to support complex research and innovations in basic science, drug discovery, translational medicine, and public health. ATCC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with headquarters in Manassas, Virginia, and a research and technology center of excellence in Gaithersburg, Maryland. 

Contact: Kim Testa, senior director, Corporate Communications & Public Affairs, ATCC, [email protected]