What Are X-Ray Irradiators?

January 14, 2021

More Readily Available X-Ray Technology

During the last decade, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved emerging technology to replace Cesium-137 Irradiators. Traditionally, blood was irradiated using cesium chloride (CsCl), which is a powder form of the highly radioactive isotope Cesium-137. In 2012, medical professionals were introduced to non-radioactive x-ray devices that help sterilize blood. Newer blood irradiator techniques are more effective and safer than traditional cesium-137 blood irradiators.


We’re taking a deeper dive into the details about these alternative technologies, and more specifically, blood irritation.


What Are X-Ray Irradiators?


To give you a little background, X-ray irradiators have a spectrum of possible uses in different biological specimens irradiation. Some examples are blood irradiation, cell research irradiation, sterile insect technique (SIT/SIR), viral inactivation, and much more. X-ray irradiators are also becoming a widely used instrument in small animal research and cancer research as they are a direct replacement for traditional gamma irradiators.

Blood irradiation machines often prevent Transfusion-associated graft-versus-host disease (TA-GVHD), a rare complication of blood transfusion. According to the Center for Non proliferation Studies (CNS), while GVHD is rare, it nearly always proves fatal if the disease is contracted. Patients with severely depressed immune systems are at a higher risk. However, some U.S. hospitals irradiate all plate lets, regardless of the specific patient population to avoid failure to identify an at-risk patient. Current estimates show that about one-tenth to one-third of the United States’ shared blood supply is irradiated. X-ray blood irradiation is a recognized and safe prevention method for TA-GVHD. X-ray irradiators meet the same medical requirements as cesium irradiators for Transfusion-associated graft-versus-host disease prevention; however, the newer technology is far easier to use.


The New Versus Old Technology:

Modern X-ray irradiators, like the RADGIL2, are specifically designed to prevent TA-GVHD, just as Cesium-137 sourced irradiators, but it’s safer and easier to use. Newer blood Irradiation machines are faster, effective, and easy to use. X-ray units demand far less security and shielding, reduce liability, and don’t require costly disposal at the end of the machine’s life-cycle.


Naturally, with tech advancements, the reliability of X-ray devices has improved significantly since the machines were first introduced.

X-ray irradiators also have more options not available with traditional cesium-137 irradiators. Features like self-contained cooling systems, wheels, and simultaneous irradiation allow medical professionals to treat more blood products in less time. Since newer machines are also easier to adjust, they’re more ergonomic and comfortable to use and maintain. These adjustments can also allow the device to be used for other research applications like Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), Stem Cell, and Vaccine Irradiations.

Another significant advantage to today’s blood irradiator techniques is eliminating the need to perform additional monitoring for radiation exposure (no shielded or secure room), meaning traditional regulatory and security requirements that are needed for cesium-137 irradiators are eliminated. X-ray irradiators offer relatively low operational costs and no requirements for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or Nuclear Site License, compared to traditional gamma irradiators.





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