ProSteR: Radiation-induced leukaemia in children: response of hematopoietic stem cells to photon and proton therapy

01 January 2018 → 31 December 2019
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
No data available
Project description

Epidemiological studies have highlighted that leukemia can be considered as the most important

malignancy after radiation exposure during childhood. The high risk is related to the high sensitivity

of the bone marrow at young ages. Since the red bone marrow harbors hematopoietic stem and

progenitor cells (HSPCs), a better understanding of the response to protons and photons of these

HSPCs is warranted, particularly in the context of pediatric proton therapy (PT). The clinical

application of PT is of great interest for pediatric patients due to the optimal dose distribution and

the lower integral whole body dose compared to conventional x-ray radiotherapy (i.e. photon

therapy), resulting in a reduction of side effects. Despite some degree of normal tissue injury is still

inevitable, radiotherapy for pediatric cancer is a life-saving procedure. Currently, there is little

information available on the response of HSPCs to proton therapy. In this project, radiobiological

differences between proton and conventional x-ray (photons) exposure of HSPCs will be

investigated together with the underlying mechanisms for the high radiosensitivity of HSPCs in vitro

and in vivo. The results will help estimate HSPC damage in radiotherapy-treated children, provide

opportunities to improve treatment strategies in pediatric radiotherapy and enable better

secondary leukemia risk estimations for childhood cancer survivors.