Erforschung der Wirkung kleiner Dosen ionisierender Strahlung

  • Schöllnberger, Helmut, (Projektleitung)
  • Hofmann, Werner (Projektmitarbeiter/in)



Dr. Schöllnberger’s current 3-year research project is funded by the Austrian Science Foundation FWF and investigates the effects of low doses of ionizing radiation, especially low-LET radiation (gamma- and X-rays). This is performed with deterministic and stochastic multistage models for neoplastic transformation (i.e. cancer cells in vitro) and cancer. A corner stone of this research is the ground breaking discovery of Drs. Edouard Azzam and Ronald E. J. Mitchel who found that low doses of gamma-radiation delivered at low dose rates are tumor-reducing at doses up to 100 mGy. This dose is app. 100-fold larger than the annual dose from environmental background radiation. Some of Dr. Schöllnberger’s earlier studies have focused on explaining these experiments with biomathematical models. He included radiologically inducible DNA repair and radical scavengers as well as endogenously produced DNA lesions into the models. These are mechanisms that are important at low doses and are considered to contribute to the effects described by Dr. Azzam and his colleagues. Recent studies focused on a model for protective effects from bystander-induced apoptosis, an effect that has been firmly established in cell culture systems. In an ongoing collaboration with Dr. Robert D. Stewart from Purdue University a mathematical model of the cell cycle and cell cycle dependent DSB repair pathways has been developed. All of these efforts lead to better risk estimates at low doses of ionizing radiation. With respect to the nuclear power stations close to its borders, this research project is especially relevant for Austria.

Biomathematical models for cancer in humans and neoplastic transformation are developed. Their solutions are obtained either analytically or numerically. The models are then tested on suitable low dose data sets using optimization techniques (global and local search engines). The models can also be used to make predicitons about some aspects of low dose effects, e.g. how long certain cellular defense mechanisms such as apoptosis need to be activated to yield certain measured dose response relations.

The aim of the proposed project is to include those biological mechanisms into cancer models that are most relevant at low doses of ionizing radiation. Model simulations are then performed to see which mechanisms dominate in the low dose region and to predict the shape of the dose-response relationship at low doses of ionizing radiation. With respect to the nuclear power stations at its borders, the planned project is especially relevant for Austria.
AkronymLow Dose
Tatsächlicher Beginn/ -es Ende1/08/0531/10/08

Systematik der Wissenschaftszweige 2002

  • 1207 Biophysik