Radiobiology Experiments With Ultra-high Dose Rate Laser-Driven Protons: Methodology and State-of-the-Art

Pankaj Chaudhary, Giuliana Milluzzo, Hamad Ahmed, Boris Odlozilik, Aaron McMurray, Kevin Prise, Marco Borghesi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
184 Downloads (Pure)


The use of particle accelerators in radiotherapy has significantly changed the therapeutic outcomes for many types of solid tumours. In particular, protons are well known for sparing normal tissues and increasing the overall therapeutic index. Recent studies show that normal tissue sparing can be further enhanced through proton delivery at 100 Gy/s and above, in the so-called FLASH regime. This has generated very significant interest in assessing the biological effects of proton pulses delivered at very high dose rates. Laser-accelerated proton beams have unique temporal emission properties, which can be exploited to deliver Gy level doses in single or multiple pulses at dose rates exceeding by many orders of magnitude those currently used in FLASH approaches. An extensive investigation of the radiobiology of laser-driven protons is therefore not only necessary for future clinical application, but also offers the opportunity of accessing yet untested regimes of radiobiology. This paper provides an updated review of the recent progress achieved in ultra-high dose rate radiobiology experiments employing laser-driven protons, including a brief discussion of the relevant methodology and dosimetry approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Article number624963
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in Physics
Publication statusPublished - 08 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), through Grants EP/K022415/1 and EP/P010059/1. This project 18HLT04 UHDpulse has received funding from the EMPIR programme co-financed by the Participating States and from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Additionally, BO acknowledges funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklowdowska-Curie grant agreement no 754507. AM acknowledges funding support provided by Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland.

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2021 Chaudhary, Milluzzo, Ahmed, Odlozilik, McMurray, Prise and Borghesi.


  • Physics
  • cancer
  • laser-driven ions
  • particle accelerator
  • protontherapy
  • radiobiology
  • ultra-high dose rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Mathematical Physics
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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