New ICNIRP Publication

ICNIRP is glad to inform you about its most recent publication, Risk Factors for Childhood Leukemia, Proceedings of an International Workshop, 5-7 May 2008, Berlin, Germany issued in Radiation Protection Dosimetry 132 (2). To view the papers, go to the Journal’s website http://rpd.oxfordjournals.org/content/vol132/issue2/index.dtl

In virtually every society, children are valued and given high priority for protection. Using common scientific resources to address one of the major diseases of childhood is reasonable as a means to prevent the disease. The workshop made a contribution toward pursuing the causes of childhood leukemias.

Leukemia contributes about 1/3 of all cancers in children below the age of fifteen. This heterogeneous, multi-factorial disease of the hematopoietic system accounts for the largest proportion of all cancers in this age group, with acute lymphatic leukemia (ALL) being the most common subtype. Incidence rates show a slight increase with time.

There is increasing evidence that a first damaging event to the hematopoietic stem cells (1st hit) occurs during the prenatal phase and one or more postnatal hits are needed to transform the pre-leukemic clones into leukemia cells. In parallel to the body of research investigating the different indicators of molecular damage, therapeutic procedures have been continually developed andimproved. Today individually optimized therapeutic plans for childhood ALL patients are available which result in a survival rate of more than 80%.

The aim of the international workshop, jointly organized by ICNIRP, WHO and the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS), was to bring together experts from different disciplines to summarize the current knowledge about the role of genetic and environmental risk factors for childhood leukemia. It became clear that, in spite of the many available epidemiological studies, knowledge about the causes of leukemia is still rather incomplete and will require large concerted efforts worldwide.

See all workshop information at http://www.icnirp.org/WChildhoodLeukemia.htm.