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Particle therapy (PT) as cancer treatment, using protons or heavier ions, can provide a more favorable dose distribution compared to X-rays. While the physical characteristics of particle radiation have been the aim of intense research, less focus has been placed on the actual biological responses arising from particle irradiation. One of the biggest challenges for proton radiobiology is the RBE, with an increasing concern that the clinically-applied generic RBE-value of 1.1 is an approximation, as RBE is a complex quantity, depending on both biological and physical parameters, such as dose, LET, cellular and tissue radiobiological characteristics, as well as the endpoints being studied. Most of the available RBE data derive from in vitro experiments, with very limited in vivo data available, especially in late-reacting tissues, which provide the main constraints and influence the quality of life endpoints in radiotherapy. There is a need for systematic, large-scale studies to thoroughly establish the biology of particle radiation in a number of different experimental models in order to refine biophysical mathematical models that can potentially be used to guide PT. The overall objective of the European Particle Therapy Network (EPTN) WP6 is to form a network of research and therapy facilities in order to coordinate and standardize the radiobiological experiments, to obtain more accurate predictive parameters than in the past. Coordinated research is required in order to obtain the most appropriate experimental data. The aim in this paper is to describe the available radiobiology infrastructure of the centers involved in EPTN WP6.

Original publication




Journal article


Radiother Oncol

Publication Date





14 - 18


European Particle Therapy Network, Particle radiation, Radiobiology, Biomedical Research, Europe, Heavy Ion Radiotherapy, Humans, Neoplasms, Proton Therapy, Radiobiology