Method for validating radiobiological samples using a linear accelerator

There is an immediate need for rapid triage of the population in case of a large scale exposure to ionizing radiation. Knowing the dose absorbed by the body will allow clinicians to administer medical treatment for the best chance of recovery for the victim. In addition, today’s radiotherapy treatment could benefit from additional information regarding the patient’s sensitivity to radiation before starting the treatment. As of today, there is no system in place to respond to this demand. This paper will describe specific procedures to mimic the effects of human exposure to ionizing radiation creating the tools for optimization of administered radiation dosimetry for radiotherapy and/or to estimate the doses of radiation received accidentally during a radiation event that could pose a danger to the public. In order to obtain irradiated biological samples to study ionizing radiation absorbed by the body, we performed ex-vivo irradiation of human blood samples using the linear accelerator (LINAC). The LINAC was implemented and calibrated for irradiating human whole blood samples. To test the calibration, a 2 Gy test run was successfully performed on a tube filled with water with an accuracy of 3% in dose distribution. To validate our technique the blood samples were ex-vivo irradiated and the results were analyzed using a gene expression assay to follow the effect of the ionizing irradiation by characterizing dose responsive biomarkers from radiobiological assays. The response of 5 genes was monitored resulting in expression increase with the dose of radiation received. The blood samples treated with the LINAC can provide effective irradiated blood samples suitable for molecular profiling to validate radiobiological measurements via the gene-expression based biodosimetry tools.

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Brengues M., Liu D., Korn R.L. and Zenhausern F. “Method for validating radiobiological samples using a linear accelerator.” EPJ Tech Instrum., 1(1). pii: 2, (2014).