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Advancing Radiobiology Technology

Atomic and molecular image

The Biological Physics, Medical Physics, High Energy Particle Physics, and Particle and Beams Groups of the Institute of Physics have come together to organise a meeting to discuss the novel techniques required to elucidate the mechanisms that determine the impact of ionising radiation on tissue.  Such techniques have the potential to significantly impact clinical practice in particle beam therapy.

Recently, UKRI provided seed-corn funding for the development of LhARA, the Laser-hybrid Accelerator for Radiobiological Applications, to serve the Ion Therapy Research Facility (ITRF).  The LhARA collaboration’s long-term vision is to transform the clinical practice of proton- and ion-beam therapy (IBT) by creating a fully automated, highly flexible system to harness the unique properties of laser-driven ion beams.

LhARA will be a uniquely flexible proton/ion-beam facility dedicated to the systematic study of radiation biology.  The laser-driven source will allow protons and ions to be delivered in FLASH and mini/micro beams with a flexible time structure up to a maximum repetition rate of 10 Hz.  The exploitation of the LhARA beams requires the development of novel techniques capable of interrogating chemical and biological processes on short, < 0.1 s, timescales.  Full exploitation of the facility requires a range of developments from automated sample handling to fast feedback from the experimental end stations to the accelerator.  This requires that advances in a variety of branches of physics be harnessed. 

The joint meeting will be held at the Institute of Physics in London and will receive presentations on and promote discussion of the challenges presented by LhARA and other projects aimed at the development of transformational biomedical capability.