LRB strategic programme presented

News, 19 February 2021

On 11 February, a biophysical seminar was held in the Conference Hall of the Laboratory of Radiation Biology and in a video conference format. Director of the Laboratory A. N. Bugay presented the programme of innovation radiobiological research at JINR. The seminar evoked a vivid interest as gathered 120 participants.

JINR Director G. V. Trubnikov noted this interest when opened the seminar, “Today, V. A. Matveev, Directors of the Institute’s Laboratories, colleagues from the Member States joined us. Their participation demonstrates the attention paid to studies conducted in LRB. The youngest JINR Laboratory has big plans.”

A. N. Bugay started his speech with the results obtained in the Laboratory. LRB has solved the central problem of radiobiology, i.e. the problem of biological efficiency of radiation with various physical characteristics. It was found out that the relative biological effectiveness is determined by the physical and biological factors, i.e. by the ability of living cells to self-repair DNA damages. Interestingly, the degree and the character of the effect of the biological factor on the RBE coefficients depend on the physical factor. And the molecular basis of cell death is double-stranded DNA breaks. The Laboratory’s researchers have found out the patterns and mechanisms of the induction of gene and structural mutations under the impact of radiation of various characteristics. This knowledge allowed researchers to move on to the assessment of radiation risks in space and to the development of radiation therapy for tumours.

A. N. Bugay spoke about the studies being conducted at the JINR basic facilities in these two realms, as well as about unique experiments carried out jointly with colleagues from the Institute of Biomedical Problems, the MSU, academic institutes, about works underway in the Member States, and new necessary diagnostic equipment. Today, radiobiologists use beams of the VBLHEP and FLNR accelerators, the IBR-2 capabilities in FLNP, as well as computing capabilities of LIT for data modeling and display. It is offered to expand the existing interlaboratory cooperation in the framework of the project of the JINR Innovation Centre by including accelerators of the JINR Member States into it. As for the second direction of research – medical radiobiology – LRB has developed and patented a new method for increasing the biological effectiveness of photon and proton beams. This technique allows applying a new strategy for cancer treatment. The programme of the Laboratory includes an educational aspect as well with the use of capabilities of the UC JINR, the University “Dubna”, the cooperation with colleagues from academic and other institutes, the Member States, participation in international collaborations at world-leading facilities.

The report evoked questions and comments by G. V. Trubnikov, B. Yu. Sharkov, D. V. Naumov, M. G. Itkis, N. Sapozhnikova (Institute of Physics, Tbilisi), S. Harutyunyan (Armenia), G. D. Shirkov.

At the end of the seminar, G. V. Trubnikov noted that A. N. Bugay in his report expressed a strategic view of the development of not only LRB but other laboratories and centres that took part in discussions of recent months as well. “We have just launched a series of seminars, meetings, discussions. A team from DLNP has already presented a well-developed project of the machine for proton therapy. Today, LRB has made bold to announce this bright programme. At the end of April – May, we will organize a meeting to discuss several fields, including the radiobiological programme and proton therapy. We do not yet have a modern scientific research programme for the latter. And if we talk about the future research innovation centre, it will not be tied to one laboratory, it will be a structure distributed across sites, which will conduct applied research interesting to those who work in Dubna and the Member States.” The Director of the Institute had some proposals for the LRB programme. He expressed gratitude to A. N. Bugay, E. A. Krasavin, and the entire Laboratory for active work.

Olga Tarantina, JINR Weekly Newspaper
photos by Elena Puzynina