Optimisation of exposure conditions for in vitro radiobiology experiments
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- Claridge Mackonis, E., Suchowerska, N., Naseri, P. et al. Australas Phys Eng Sci Med (2012) 35: 151. doi:10.1007/s13246-012-0132-6
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Despite the long history of using cell cultures in vitro for radiobiological studies, there is to date no study specifically addressing the dosimetric implications of flask selection and exposure environment in clonogenic assays. The consequent variability in dosimetry between laboratories impedes the comparison of results. In this study we compare the dose to cells adherent to the base of three types of commonly used culture flasks or plates. The cells are exposed to a 6MV clinical photon beam using either an open or a half blocked field. The depth of medium in each flask is varied with the medium surrounding the flask either water or air. The results show that the dose to the cells is more affected by the scattering conditions surrounding the flasks than by the level of filling within the flask. It is recommended that water or a water equivalent phantom material is used to surround the flasks or plates to approximate full scatter conditions at the cell layer. However for modulated fields, surrounding the 24 well plates with water-equivalent material is inadequate because of the large volume of air surrounding individual wells. Our results stress the importance of measuring the dose for new experimental configurations.