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Radiotherapy and diagnostic services

Pre-clinical dosimetry consultancy

Improving radiation measurement in pre-clinical experiments

NPL offers expertise and a range of dosimetry measurements, from reference dosimetry to end-to-end audit of commercial and bespoke radiation units used in pre-clinical studies. These include broad-field, low-energy and medium-energy X-ray cabinets, bespoke shielding setups, clinical orthovoltage units and image-guided  irradiators.

Contrary to clinical settings (where dose uncertainties associated with dose measurements are less than 3%), radiobiological experiments are typically affected by dose uncertainties of around 20% to 35%. These significant measurement uncertainty levels can hamper translational progress and demand higher number of experiments to be performed to establish for statistically significant data sets.

The need for standardisation and improved dosimetry for pre-clinical studies has been identified by researchers, funding agencies, journal editors and regulatory bodies, and is a priority of the Clinical and Translational Radiotherapy Research Working Group (CTRad). It was also addressed in the Integrity in Research POSTNote published by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST).

NPL can help reduce the uncertainty associated with these types of pre-clinical dosimetry studies through:

  • Recommendations for practical adoption of international Codes of Practice for dosimetry of low- and medium-energy X-ray in conventional X-ray cabinets. This includes recommendations and correction factors for back- and lateral scattering 
  • Characterization of beam quality, uniformity and dose output for conventional in vitro set ups and small animal with conventional X-ray cabinets
  • Dosimetry validation for Image Guided Small Animal Irradiators. Read more here


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