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The range of radiobiological experiments requiring microirradiation techniques continues to expand and diversify, creating ever-greater challenges for the designers of such systems. A versatile microbeam for radiation biology must excel in a number of areas. For studies of intracellular cell signalling where it may be of interest to target just the cytoplasm or nuclear membrane, targeting accuracies of micron or less are desirable. Other studies may use endpoints that are rare enough to require the irradiation of hundreds of thousands of cells in order to observe and quantify the effects. Inevitably, this means automating the cell finding, aligning and irradiation steps in order to achieve high cell throughputs. For investigations related to radiation risk, the effect of single particle traversals are paramount, therefore particle counting and single particle delivery are essential. A number of improvements have been implemented to the Gray Cancer Institute charged-particle microbeam, to extend its versatility and to meet these challenges. Specifically, improvements to the speed, alignment accuracy and environmental control have enabled investigations related to cell signalling, low-dose hypersensitivity, genomic instability and the visualisation of DNA repair to be successfully addressed. © 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original publication




Conference paper

Publication Date





302 - 307