Publications Repository - Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf

1 Publication

Combined proton radiography and irradiation for high-precision preclinical studies in small animals

Schneider, M.; Elisabeth, B.; Suckert, T.; Beyreuther, E.; Bock, J.; Dietrich, A.; Gantz, S.; Heuchel, L.; Krause, M.; Neubeck, C. V.; Nexhipi, S.; Tillner, F.; Schürer, M.; Lühr, A.; Müller, J.


Background and purpose: Proton therapy has become a popular treatment modality in the field of radiooncology due to higher spatial dose conformity compared to conventional radiotherapy, which holds the potential to spare normal tissue. Nevertheless, unresolved research questions, such as the much debated relative biological effectiveness (RBE) of protons, call for preclinical research, especially regarding in vivo studies. To mimic clinical workflows, high-precision small animal irradiation setups with image-guidance are needed.

Material and methods: A preclinical experimental setup for small animal brain irradiation using proton radiographies was established to perform planning, repositioning, and irradiation of mice. The image quality of proton radiographies was optimized regarding the resolution, contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR), and minimal dose deposition in the animal. Subsequently, proof-of-concept histological analysis was conducted by staining for DNA double-strand breaks that were then correlated to the delivered dose.

Results: The developed setup and workflow allow precise brain irradiation with a lateral target positioning accuracy of <0.26mm for in vivo experiments at minimal imaging dose of <23mGy per mouse. The custom-made software for image registration enables the fast and precise animal positioning at the beam with low observer-variability. DNA damage staining validated the successful positioning and irradiation of the mouse hippocampus.

Conclusion: Proton radiography enables fast and effective high-precision lateral alignment of proton beam and target volume in mouse irradiation experiments with limited dose exposure. In the future, this will enable irradiation of larger animal cohorts as well as fractionated proton irradiation.

Keywords: Proton therapy; Proton radiography; Mouse brain irradiation; preclinical (in vivo) studies; DNA damage; Relative biological effectiveness (RBE)

Involved research facilities

  • OncoRay

Related publications


Years: 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015