The radiobiology of laser-driven particle beams: focus on sub-lethal responses of normal human cells

L. Manti*, F. M. Perozziello, M. Borghesi, G. Candiano, P. Chaudhary, G. A. P. Cirrone, D. Doria, D. Gwynne, R. Leanza, K. M. Prise, L. Romagnani, F. Romano, V. Scuderi, A. Tramontana

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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Accelerated proton beams have become increasingly common for treating cancer. The need for cost and size reduction of particle accelerating machines has led to the pioneering investigation of optical ion acceleration techniques based on laser-plasma interactions as a possible alternative. Laser-matter interaction can produce extremely pulsed particle bursts of ultra-high dose rates (≥ 109 Gy/s), largely exceeding those currently used in conventional proton therapy. Since biological effects of ionizing radiation are strongly affected by the spatio-temporal distribution of DNA-damaging events, the unprecedented physical features of such beams may modify cellular and tissue radiosensitivity to unexplored extents. Hence, clinical applications of laser-generated particles need thorough assessment of their radiobiological effectiveness. To date, the majority of studies have either used rodent cell lines or have focussed on cancer cell killing being local tumour control the main objective of radiotherapy. Conversely, very little data exist on sub-lethal cellular effects, of relevance to normal tissue integrity and secondary cancers, such as premature cellular senescence. Here, we discuss ultra-high dose rate radiobiology and present preliminary data obtained in normal human cells following irradiation by laser-accelerated protons at the LULI PICO2000 facility at Laser Lab Europe, France.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberC03084
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Instrumentation
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2017


  • Accelerator applications
  • Instrumentation for hadron therapy
  • Plasma generation (laser-produced, RF, x ray-produced)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Mathematical Physics

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