Israel’s StemRad Ltd develops new 360 Gamma Belt which can shield the body from the effects of gamma radiation.
It sounds like something out of Star Trek or a super hero movie like Ironman: a device that can protect people from radiation exposure. But that is exactly what StemRad Ltd has invented.
The StemRad 360 Gamma Belt can shield the human body from gamma radiation. It can be used by first responders in the event of a nuclear accident or attack.
Exposure poses immediate life-threatening risk from Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS), also known as radiation sickness. ARS arises due to the destruction of an individual’s hematopoietic stem cells which reside within the bone marrow, resulting in anemia, infections, internal bleeding and death within several weeks, sometimes days.
StemRad’s tested and patent-pending technology protects hematopoietic stem cells from the toxic effects of gamma radiation, providing affected individuals with an increased chance of survival in the event of inadvertent exposure to ionizing gamma radiation, from a nuclear catastrophe such as an explosion or reactor leak.
The company explains that, “Since most deaths are caused by bone marrow failure, the StemRad 360 Gamma has been specifically designed to protect the body’s bone marrow stem cells, found mostly in the pelvic region. It may look simplistic on the outside but the structure inside is three dimensional and very unique. The idea here was to create a product that on the one hand protects but on the other hand is not over burdened weight.”
StemRad is a Tel Aviv based company founded in Novermber 2011, with offices in Palo AltoCalifornia. It develops and manufactures personal protective shielding for nuclear radiation protection.
Dr. Oren Milstein, Ph.D., is president, chief scientific officer and co founder of StemRad and has more than 10 years of Life Sciences research experience. Previously, he was an EMBO fellow at NYU’s Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, where his research provided basic insights into the mechanism of T cell activation. Dr. Milstein received his Ph.D. from The Weizmann Institute of Science in 2008, where he developed novel strategies for successful bone marrow transplantation into irradiated subjects. He received his B.Sc., Magna Cum Laude, from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
In a statement about the Gamma Belt, Dr. Milstein said, “Conceptually, it’s agreeable that the bone marrow is the most radiation sensitive tissue and that bone marrow is able to regenerate itself. So kind of like adding one plus one, we know that if we perform partial shielding on bone marrow, we get an increased survivability of the individual.”
The new belt has yet to be formally tested in an actual radioactive environment. Many nuclear scientists are skeptical that it will be effective. But according to Dr. Milstein, StemRad is confident that it will work when a person is exposed to as many as 1, 000 RADs, which is a lethal dose of radiation.
The belt is intended for fire fighters, paramedics, police and members of the military, all of whom, as first responders to disasters such as earthquakes or 9/11 type attacks, would be exposed to radiation in the event of a nuclear catastrophe.