The federal government has awarded nine contracts for the advanced research and development of portable devices that can enable first responders in the field to test for radiation absorption. This would help to quickly determine the most appropriate treatment for patients exposed to ionizing radiation.

The contracts, totaling $35 million for the first year and up to $400 million five years, come from the Department of Health and Human Services' Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. Each contractor has identified particular physical or biological characteristics, or biomarkers, to indicate how much radiation a person has absorbed. Contractors during the first year will test the accuracy of the biomarkers and the ability of their own proposed devices to effectively measure the biomarkers.

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