CORE C: Radiation Biophysics
The Radiation Biophysics facility's main role is to provide and support a wide range of radiation resources to facilitate the research of the Institute along with the development of novel radiation sources and techniques, typically designed and constructed in-house.
The Radiation Biophysics facility includes the provision of associated expertise to ensure that they are used appropriately and effectively, provision of training and where appropriate help with experimental design, interpreting the results and data analysis. Irradiation facilities supported include 137Cs g-irradiators, SARRP small animal image-guided x-ray irradiator, 320 kV orthovoltage & 50kV diagnostic x-ray facilities, a 238Pu high-LET a-particle irradiator, ultrasoft x-ray (0.3 – 4.5keV) irradiator and a 6 MeV linac. These facilities range from those used for basic cell irradiations (including techniques capable of manipulating radiation fields on the sub-cellular micron scale) through to supporting and developing a SARRP image guided pre-clinical irradiator and includes developing techniques for dosimetry on these and clinical machines. These are regularly maintained, calibrated, QA measurements performed and when required (and appropriate) repaired by the group, as well as ensuring the Institute operates these facilities safely and is legally compliant with respect to radiation protection legislation.
The core has also been active in working with commercial companies. If required the core will also work actively with individual research groups to optimise irradiation and sample preparations techniques, modifying and calibrating irradiators if required.
The core works closely with all research groups within the MRC Unit and Institute to advise and provide required irradiations, modifying equipment and developing novel techniques if required, which usually requires working closely the Departmental workshop and preclinical and small animal imaging core.
The core is active in training all users in the optimal and safe use of the radiation facilities with additional background information to help them interpret the results. In addition, the group has played an active role in providing outreach materials (e.g., x-ray CT images of chocolate bars; x-ray and proton treatment plans on a computer mouse x-ray image), tours and demonstrations.
The core will continue to proactively engage with researchers within and external to the Institute, to not only see how the existing facilities can facilitate their research, but also look at opportunities for future development of the equipment and techniques. The core is also developing increased automation in targeting and treatment planning for in vivo irradiations. In addition to preclinical MR-guided radiotherapy, the core will also explore combining the use of the SARRP irradiator with other imaging modalities.