In Vivo Microbeam Radiation Therapy at a Conventional Small Animal Irradiator

Mabroor Ahmed, Sandra Bicher, Stephanie Elisabeth Combs, Rainer Lindner, Susanne Raulefs, Thomas E. Schmid, Suzana Spasova, Jessica Stolz, Jan Jakob Wilkens, Johanna Winter, Stefan Bartzsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Microbeam radiation therapy (MRT) is a still pre-clinical form of spatially fractionated radiotherapy, which uses an array of micrometer-wide, planar beams of X-ray radiation. The dose modulation in MRT has proven effective in the treatment of tumors while being well tolerated by normal tissue. Research on understanding the underlying biological mechanisms mostly requires large third-generation synchrotrons. In this study, we aimed to develop a preclinical treatment environment that would allow MRT independent of synchrotrons. We built a compact microbeam setup for pre-clinical experiments within a small animal irradiator and present in vivo MRT application, including treatment planning, dosimetry, and animal positioning. The brain of an immobilized mouse was treated with MRT, excised, and immunohistochemically stained against (Formula presented.) H2AX for DNA double-strand breaks. We developed a comprehensive treatment planning system by adjusting an existing dose calculation algorithm to our setup and attaching it to the open-source software 3D-Slicer. Predicted doses in treatment planning agreed within 10% with film dosimetry readings. We demonstrated the feasibility of MRT exposures in vivo at a compact source and showed that the microbeam pattern is observable in histological sections of a mouse brain. The platform developed in this study will be used for pre-clinical research of MRT.

Original languageEnglish
Article number581
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • dose calculation
  • dosimetry
  • histology
  • microbeam radiation therapy
  • small animal irradiator
  • spatially fractionated radiation therapy
  • treatment planning


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