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Microbeams have undergone a renaissance since their introduction and early use in the mid 60s. Recent advances in imaging, software and beam delivery have allowed rapid technological developments in microbeams for use in a range of experimental studies. The resurgence in the use of microbeams since the mid 90s has coincided with major changes in our understanding of how radiation interacts with cells. In particular, the evidence that bystander responses occur, where cells not directly irradiated can respond to irradiated neighbours, has brought about the evolution of new models of radiation response. Although these processes have been studied using a range of experimental approaches, microbeams offer a unique route by which bystander responses can be elucidated. Without exception, all of the microbeams currently active internationally have studied bystander responses in a range of cell and tissue models. Together these studies have considerably advanced our knowledge of bystander responses and the underpinning mechanisms. Much of this has come from charged particle microbeam studies, but increasingly, X-ray and electron microbeams are starting to contribute quantitative and mechanistic information on bystander effects. A recent development has been the move from studies with 2-D cell culture models to more complex 3-D systems where the possibilities of utilizing the unique characteristics of microbeams in terms of their spatial and temporal delivery will make a major impact.

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Radiat Res

Publication Date

03/2009

Volume

50 Suppl A

Pages

A1 - A6

Keywords

Animals, Biological Assay, Bystander Effect, Cell Culture Techniques, Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation, Equipment Design, Humans, Radiation Dosage, Radiobiology