Research ArticleRadiation Toxicity

Ultrahigh dose-rate FLASH irradiation increases the differential response between normal and tumor tissue in mice

Science Translational Medicine  16 Jul 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 245, pp. 245ra93
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3008973

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Safer Radiation for the Lung

Radiation is used to treat a variety of tumor types, including lung cancer. Unfortunately, radiation-induced damage to the surrounding healthy lung is a major problem, which can cause long-term complications and limits the amount of radiation that can be safely delivered to the tumor. Favaudon et al. now present a technology called FLASH, which allows the delivery of pulsed, ultrahigh dose-rate irradiation, which causes less damage to the healthy lung than conventional radiotherapy in mouse models. The authors confirmed that FLASH is effective against tumor cells but causes little damage to normal tissue. These results suggest that FLASH radiation may be a viable option for treating lung tumors, although this will need to be confirmed in human patients.