Though it may seem counterintuitive, delivering ultrafast, high-intensity doses of radiation to tumors can actually reduce the toxicity to surrounding healthy cells, while still directing a potent anti-cancer effect towards the target. Scientists have documented this perplexing phenomenon—dubbed the FLASH radiotherapy effect—in both cell lines and animal models, but they have yet to confirm how or why it works. A new experimental platform that uses X-rays to investigate the FLASH effect brings science a step closer to clarifying its underlying mechanisms, laying the foundation for major strides in the field of radiation oncology.
The projects of 21 Biosciences Area scientists and engineers received funding through the FY24 Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program.
Injury to immune-system and blood-forming cells is a common side effect of radiation therapy, which more than half of all cancer patients receive as part of their treatment. Biosciences Area researchers and their collaborators used a genetically diverse mouse population to model individual differences in sensitivity to radiation exposure.
A new study investigating the effect of thirdhand smoke (THS) in a mouse model system specially designed to mimic the genetic diversity of human populations has shed new light on how genetic predispositions contribute to an individual’s cancer risk. This work is an instrumental step towards building a more realistic understanding of how tobacco smoke residue could impact cancer risk in people.
Scientists at Berkeley Lab and their collaborators developed a machine learning technique to discover obesity-related mixed chemical exposure patterns associated with environmental health risk in the general U.S. population. To assess this, they used indicators like body mass index and waist circumference.