FLASH - ultrahigh dose-rate radiotherapy: from in vitro to in vivo

Project: ResearchInternational collaboration


FLASH is a novel type of radiotherapy for cancer, where the radiation is delivered at a much higher dose rate (i.e. absorbed dose per unit of time) than with standard radiotherapy techniques (appr. 1000 times higher). Recent results from several pre-clinical experiments have shown that FLASH radiotherapy can achieve effective tumor control, while producing far less side effects than conventional radiotherapy. In addition, the treatment can be delivered in a fraction of a second, which eliminates the detrimental effects of patient motion during beam on, making it possible to use tighter treatment margins. Based on the promising experimental results previously obtained by us and others, the purpose of our long-term translational research plan is to explore and further develop the clinical potential of FLASH radiotherapy.

Research subtopics

1. Dosimetric studies
Commissioning a clinical electron beam for FLASH radiotherapy
Studying recombination effects in monitoring ion chambers
Establishing reference dosimetry traceable to dosimetry standards

2. Radiobiological studies in vitro
Comparing ultra-high and conventional dose rates
Investigating the oxygen depletion hypothesis
Optimizing dose-per-pulse and dose rate parameters

3. Radiobiological studies in vivo
Studying normal tissue effects in Zebra-fish
Comparing FLASH and conventional radiotherapy in mice tumor models
Combining FLASH and immunotherapy in mice tumor models

4. Clinical studies
Initiating a veterinary dose escalation study on cutaneous tumors
Developing a real-time motion management system
Preparing for a clinical study on human cutaneous tumors

Layman's description

Radiotherapy is essential for modern cancer treatment and can often provide efficient tumour control. However, normal tissue complications remain an obstacle and can cause long-term morbidities for patients.

Recent promising results with FLASH-radiotherapy, where the radiation dose is given in a fraction of a second, has shown far less normal tissue complication.

The current project aims at treating patients with FLASH-radiotherapy. To do this, we will develop the technical aspects needed, investigating the effect and its underlying mechanisms in a pre-clinical setting, and confirming the results in animal studies.

With FLASH-radiotherapy we hope to increase the cure rates for cancer patient, with reduced long-term morbidities.
Short titleFLASH
Effective start/end date2019/01/01 → …

Collaborative partners

  • Lund University (lead)
  • University of Oxford
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • Queen's University Belfast
  • Technical University of Denmark
  • University of Copenhagen


Related research output

Gabriel Adrian, Elise Konradsson, Michael Lempart, Sven Bäck, Crister Ceberg & Kristoffer Petersson, 2019 Dec 20, In : British Journal of Radiology. 93, 1106, 20190702.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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