The magnitude of cancer risk in humans exposed to low radiation doses (below 100 milli Sieverts) is uncertain and based largely on extrapolation from human population estimates at higher doses.
Stem cells are widely recognised as the cells of origin for many cancers. Few data on stem cell responses to low radiation doses are available.
A more complete understanding of stem cell responses to low radiation doses will provide evidence to help justify risk project models.
The RISK-IR project aims to address several major areas of uncertainty in low dose cancer risk estimates. The main objectives of the RISK-IR are:
1. Identification and enumeration of stem/progenitor cells at risk
2. Understanding the low dose radiosensitivity of stem cells and tissues
3. Improvement of understanding of mechanisms of age-dependent cancer risk
4. Improvement of understanding of tissue specific differences in cancer risk
5. Identification of key events and individual susceptibility factors associated with cancer development.
The overall challenge is to carry out research of high impact that is also relevant to risk estimation and can be made accessible and relevant to radiation protection.