Modelling the radiation action for the estimation of biological effects in humansF. Ballarini1, 2, M.V. Garzelli2, 3, G. Givone1, 2, A. Mairani1, 2, A. Ottolenghi1, 2, D. Scannicchio1, 2, S. Trovati1, 2, 4 and A. Zanini2
1 University of Pavia, Nuclear and Theoretical Physics Department, via Bassi 6, 27100 Pavia, Italy
2 INFN (National Institute of Nuclear Physics), Italy
3 University of Milano, Physics Department, via Celoria 16, 20133 Milano, Italy
4 CERN, Geneva, Switzerland
Published online: 21 May 2008
It is well known that ionizing radiation can induce biological effects at different levels, from DNA, chromosomes and cells up to tissues, organs and entire organisms. Theoretical models and Monte Carlo codes, especially those based on radiation track structure, can be of great help to elucidate the underlying mechanisms and to perform reliable predictions where data are lacking. In this work we will present and discuss a mechanistic ab initio model and a Monte Carlo code able to simulate the induction of chromosome aberrations (CAs) in human cells. This endpoint is particularly relevant, since some aberration types can lead to cell death, while others can lead to cell conversion to malignancy. The model is based on the hypothesis that only clustered lesions (CLs) of the DNA double-helix can evolve into aberrations. Simulated dose-response curves for CAs induced by different radiation types (including heavy ions) will be shown, together with applications to cancer risk estimation and biodosimetry. In this framework, we will also discuss examples of medical applications - including astronauts' exposure to space radiation - obtained with the FLUKA code, also taking into account the role of nuclear interactions.
© CEA 2008