Man Receiving Electron Radiation (Radiotherapy) for Cancer Treatment

ICRP Committee 3: Radiation Protection in Medicine

Committee 3 of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) addresses protection of persons and unborn children when ionizing radiation is used in medical diagnosis, therapy, and biomedical research, as well as protection in veterinary medicine. Committee 3 is made up of 18 members from 13 countries (including Spain) and has Kimberly Applegate (University of Kentucky COM, retired, USA) as the chair of the committee.

The most recent publications of Committee 3 deal with:

  • Radiation protection in therapy with radiopharmaceutical, including the methodology for estimating the dose to the organs of interest.
  • Occupational radiological protection in interventional procedures, which provides guidance on the application of the radiation protection system in these procedures, individual monitoring and dose assessment, and the program and methods of radiological protection.
  • Diagnostic reference levels (DRLs) in medical imaging, which provides insight into different practical aspects of the implementation and development of DRLs.

The members of Committee 3 are carrying out their activities in Task Groups to develop reports, to be published in Annals of the ICRP, on:

  • Occupational radiological protection in brachytherapy, in which, unlike external beam radiation therapy, personnel can receive doses when preparing the sources to be implanted and during the use of fluoroscopy during treatments.
  • Optimization of radiological protection in digital radiography, fluoroscopy, and CT in medical imaging; diagnostic procedures in which x-rays are used but not always in optimal conditions to reduce the dose to the patient.
  • Radiological protection in veterinary practice, where protection is related to the application of ionizing radiation in veterinary medicine.
  • Radiological protection aspects of imaging in radiotherapy; images that are used to provide additional precision in the location of tumor volumes at the time of treatment. These images are not always optimized and the dose to the organs is not negligible.
  • Radiological protection in PET and PET/CT; where the high energy of the annihilation photons emitted present particular challenges for the protection of personnel against radiation, and the worker exposure is higher in PET than in conventional nuclear medicine facilities.
  • Ethics in radiological protection for medical diagnosis and treatment. It will present ethical issues in the context of the use of radiation in medicine, in specific patient care circumstances.
  • Factors governing the individual response of humans to ionizing radiation.
  • Reference organ and effective dose coefficients for common diagnostic x-ray imaging examinations; for radiography diagnostic fluoroscopy, interventional fluoroscopy, and computed tomography.
  • The radiation doses to patients in diagnostic nuclear medicine studies, to develop the dose coefficients for radiopharmaceuticals administered to patients in diagnostic nuclear medicine procedures.

The members of Committee 3 are involved in Working Groups to evaluate the interest of radiological protection advise in the use of radiopharmaceuticals for therapy, and the need to propose recommendations for radiological protection in the production and transport of radiopharmaceuticals.

Committee 3 also participates in the ICRPAEDIA section of the ICRP website, and in the “Glossary” Project together with the other three ICRP committees, with the aim of establishing a unique and current definition of the most used terms in ICRP publications.

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