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FLASH Radiotherapy: A FLASHing Idea to Preserve Neurocognitive Function : FLASH Radiotherapy: A FLASHing Idea to Preserve Neurocognitive Function

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Jo, Hye-Ju; Oh, Taerim; Lee, Ye-Rim; Kang, Gi-Sue; Park, Hye-Joon; Ahn, G-One

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Brain Tumor Research and Treatment, Vol.11 No.4, pp.223-231
FLASH radiotherapy (FLASH RT) is a technique to deliver ultra-high dose rate in a fraction of a second.
Evidence from experimental animal models suggest that FLASH RT spares various normal tissues in- cluding the lung, gastrointestinal track, and brain from radiation-induced toxicity (a phenomenon known as FLASH effect), which is otherwise commonly observed with conventional dose rate RT.
However, it is not simply the ultra-high dose rate alone that brings the FLASH effect. Multiple parame- ters such as instantaneous dose rate, pulse size, pulse repetition frequency, and the total duration of exposure all need to be carefully optimized simultaneously. Furthermore it is critical to validate FLASH effects in an in vivo experimental model system. The exact molecular mechanism responsible for this FLASH effect is not yet understood although a number of hypotheses have been proposed including oxygen depletion and less reactive oxygen species (ROS) production by FLASH RT, and enhanced ability of normal tissues to handle ROS and labile iron pool compared to tumors. In this review, we briefly overview the process of ionization event and history of radiotherapy and fractionation of ionizing radiation. We also highlight some of the latest FLASH RT reviews and results with a special interest to neurocognitive protection in rodent model with whole brain irradiation. Lastly we discuss some of the issues remain to be answered with FLASH RT including undefined molecular mechanism, lack of stan- dardized parameters, low penetration depth for electron beam, and tumor hypoxia still being a major hurdle for local control. Nevertheless, researchers are close to having all answers to the issues that we have raised, hence we believe that advancement of FLASH RT will be made more quickly than one can anticipate.
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