Microdosimetry: characterizing the radiation properties

Microdosimetry is an essential technique for understanding and improving the effectiveness of radiation therapy and radiopharmaceutical treatments for cancer. Microdosimetry helps predict DNA damage, cell killing, and other biological effects by analyzing how radiation energy is distributed on a microscopic scale. This information is vital in optimizing advanced therapies like proton and alpha-targeted therapy. Moreover, microdosimetric approaches can better understand the direct damage caused by alpha particles to DNA, allowing for more precise and effective cancer treatments.

Our recent works

We published a new article in Frontiers in Oncology. In this article, we explain that DNA damage is the main predictor of response in radiation therapy for cancer. Its quantification and characterization are paramount for treatment optimization, particularly in advanced modalities such as proton and alpha-targeted therapy. To address this important issue, we present a novel approach called the Microdosimetric Gamma Model (MGM). The MGM uses the theory of microdosimetry, specifically, the mean energy imparted into small sites as a predictor of DNA damage properties. MGM provides the number of DNA damage sites and their complexities, which were found to follow a Gamma distribution. Compared to current methods, the MGM allows for the characterization of DNA damage induced for beams composed of multi-energy components distributed over any time configuration and spatial distribution. The output can be plugged into ad hoc repair models that can predict cell killing, protein recruitments in repair sites, chromosome aberrations, and other biological effects, as opposed to current models solely focusing on cell survival. These features are particularly important in targeted alpha-therapy, for which biological effects remain uncertain. The MGM provides a flexible framework to study energy, time, and spatial aspects of ionizing radiation and offers an excellent tool for studying and optimizing the biological effects of these radiotherapy modalities.

The code for the MGM can be publicly found at: https://github.com/mghro/MGM

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