The long-term goal to integrate laser-based particle accelerators into radiotherapy clinics not only requires technological development of high-intensity lasers and new techniques for beam detection and dose delivery, but also characterization of the biological consequences of this new particle beam quality, i.e. ultra-short, ultra-intense pulses. In the present work, we describe successful in vivo experiments with laser-driven electron pulses by utilization of a small tumour model on the mouse ear for the human squamous cell carcinoma model FaDu. The already established in vitro irradiation technology at the laser system JETI was further enhanced for 3D tumour irradiation in vivo in terms of beam transport, beam monitoring, dose delivery and dosimetry in order to precisely apply a prescribed dose to each tumour in full-scale radiobiological experiments. Tumour growth delay was determined after irradiation with doses of 3 and 6 Gy by laser-accelerated electrons. Reference irradiation was performed with continuous electron beams at a clinical linear accelerator in order to both validate the dedicated dosimetry employed for laser-accelerated JETI electrons and above all review the biological results. No significant difference in radiation-induced tumour growth delay was revealed for the two investigated electron beams. These data provide evidence that the ultra-high dose rate generated by laser acceleration does not impact the biological effectiveness of the particles.
Type of Publication:
Journal article published