Physical, Biological and Clinical Background for the Development of Light Ion Therapy

  • Anders Brahme
Part of the Medical Radiology book series (MEDRAD)


The light ions have a unique role in the development of modern radiation therapy where biological optimized radiation quality and intensity-modulated radiation therapy are increasingly coming into clinical interest, not least through a systems biology approach to therapy optimization. The traditional dose distributional qualities of light ions like penumbra and depth dose are ideally suited for high-quality radiation therapy, and their radiation biological properties are even more important for eradicating large complex generally radiation resistant and/or hypoxic tumor volumes with minimal damage to surrounding normal tissues. The remaining challenge to a more wide spread clinical use of light ions are to improve the sensitivity and specificity of Molecular Tumor Imaging to more accurately localize the tumor tissues and their biological characteristics as well as to develop fast scanning systems that preserve the fundamental biological and physical advantages of the light ions. For optimal application it is essential to modulate the ion beams and select the best possible ion species depending on the molecular and anatomic properties of the tumor and that is where systems biology will play a key role in the future. For small hypoxic tumors the high-apoptotic induction at the Bragg peak of lithium ions is ideal, whereas large tumor masses may require carbon and sometimes even oxygen ions and large microscopically invasive tumors may be best treated by photons, electrons, protons and helium ions.


Bragg Peak Linear Energy Transfer Hypoxic Tumor Relative Biological Effectiveness Dose Delivery 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical Radiation PhysicsKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden

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